The Crime Branch of Guwahati Police has successfully arrested four thieves so far in connection with the Ugratara idol theft case. The thieves were caught on CCTV camera stealing the main idol, gold jewellery, donation box and other materials from the Temple. The stolen items, however, are yet to be recovered.
The theft took place on 16 November at around 3.15 AM, as per the CCTV footage. Other than stealing the asthadhatu main idol and other items from the temple, the place was also vandalised by the thieves. The thieves had also defecated in the storage room of the temple, indicating that it was a targeted hate crime, not a just simple case of theft.
The Ugratara temple dedicated to Goddes Tara was established in 1044 AD, and the current temple was built by Ahom king Shiva Singha in the year 1725. It is one of the oldest Shaktipeeths in the country.
Those arrested, Rohit Basfor, Raju Basfor, Honey Singh and Babu, have previous criminal records. Police have also arrested Tinku Ali, Farhana Akhtar and Hamirun Nesa for being involved in the crime. According to police, Honey Singh was the mastermind of the crime. The thieves had sold the Asthadhatu idol to Tinku for ₹7000 at the scrapyard of Farhana Akhtar, where Tinku works along with Hamirun. The arrested thieves informed this while confessing to the crime.
In the police interrogation, while Tinku Ali confessed that he bought the idol, but added that the idol is now missing after he kept it somewhere, and he does not know where it is now. But police say Tinku’s version can’t be trusted that and think that more interrogation will reveal further details. Police say Tinku and others are drug addicted and their versions keep changing during questioning, posing a challenge to recovering the ancient idol.