Saturday, April 17, 2021
Home News Reports 600-year-old stolen Nataraja idol being brought back to India, idol wing head reveals TN...

600-year-old stolen Nataraja idol being brought back to India, idol wing head reveals TN govt refused fund to bring it back

"The Tamil Nadu government had been dodging for 330 days to bear the cost of bringing back the idol to the State by air. The registrar of AGSA, Jane Robinson, spent their own money to bring back the idol and handed it over to us,” said Idol wing head A.G. Ponn Manickavel.

A 600-year-old Nataraja idol worth Rs 30 crore which was stolen 37 years ago from a temple at Kallidaikurichi in Tirunelveli district, Chennai, Tamil Nadu is being brought back to India. The two and a half feet 16th-century idol which was kept in the gallery in Adelaide, Australia for 17 years was traced a year ago.

As a result of the Idol Wing special officer and retired Inspector-General of Police A.G. Ponn Manickavel’s persistent effort to bring the Indian heritage back to the country, the Australian authorities formally handed over the idol to officers of the wing in New Delhi on September 11 (Wednesday). The idol is being brought by Manickavel and his team from New Delhi by train and will reach Chennai on Friday morning.

Manickavel revealed that after locating and convincing the Australian authorities and Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) by producing the records substantiating that the temple is the original owner of the idol with photographs taken before the theft of the idol, that the idol belonged to India, they agreed to return the idol. However, the Tamil Nadu State government refused funds to bring back the idol for the last 330 days.

600-year-old Nataraja Idol stolen 37 years ago from a temple at Kallidaikurichi, Tamil Nadu. Courtesy: The Hindu

“The Tamil Nadu government had been dodging for 330 days to bear the cost of bringing back the idol to the State by air. The registrar of Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA), Jane Robinson, at the request of the special investigation team, spent their own money to bring back the idol and handed it over to us,” he added.

Meanwhile, the idol will be handed to the temple authorities after the necessary formalities are done and orders are obtained from the special court for idol wing cases at Kumbakonam.

According to sources, the 600-year-old idol, weighing around 100 kg, was stolen after the doors of the sanctum sanctorum were broken open on July 5, 1982. Along with it, a 2.5-foot tall panchaloka idol of Sivakami, 1.5-foot tall Manickavasagar idol and 1-foot tall Sribali idol were also stolen.

A complaint was filed by the then trustee of the temple, following which the Kallidaikurichi police had registered a First Information Report (FIR) on July 6, 1982. However, two years later the Kallidaikurichi police closed the case concluding that the idol was untraceable.

However, a few years ago, the case was handed over to the court-appointed Idol Wing special team, led by Manickavel. After investigation, the case was reopened and taken up for investigation by the wing’s Additional SP Rajaram.

Recently, Tamil Nadu police’s Idol Wing led by A.G. Ponn Manickavel busted a gang that had been illegally exporting stolen antiques, idols and artefacts worth crores for several years from Puducherry to France through the Colombo port and recovered the artefacts.

Last year, Tamil Nadi government were in talks with the National Gallery of Australia to get back 7 stolen ancient idols. The state government has claimed a 1,300-year-old standing Sambandar bronze idol, another rare bronze, a 1000-year-old dancing Sambandar, stolen from the Naganathaswamy temple at Manambadi village in the Tiruvidaimaruthur taluk of Nagapattinam district which was sold for Rs 4.59 crores.

The state has claimed many idols, a 1000-year-old of Arumugan from Manambadi, an 1100-year-old Nandi idol, Bhadrakali idol of the Kailasanathar temple at Kollumangudi, in Mayiladudurai taluk, and two stone Dwarapalakar idols from Udayar Sivan temple in Atthanallur, Tirunelveli. These idols were smuggled out of the country by various antique dealers at various points in time.

Ponn Manickavel, after taking charge, reopened investigations and booked fresh cases.

Recently, two 1000-year-old bronze idols of Rajaraja Chola and his wife, Lokamadevi, were returned to Tamil Nadu after they were stolen from Brihadeeshwarar temple at Thanjavur over 50 years ago.

Three years ago, Australia had returned three artefacts, including an idol of goddess Pratyangira, stolen from a Shiva temple in Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu. In 2014, then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had returned two statues of Nataraja and Ardhanariswarar stolen from temples in the state.

About 1200 ancient idols are believed to have been stolen from Tamil Nadu between 1992 and 2017 out of which 350 have been declared untraceable and only 18 had been retrieved until last year. Owing to the lax behaviour of the authorities the Tamil Nadu government had last year at the beginning of August informed the Madras High Court that it had decided to transfer all the idol theft cases to the CBI.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Siddharth Varadarajan of The Wire spreads fake news a day after The Logical Indian apologised for the same: Read details

Siddharth Varadarajan spread fake news again, in fact, the same fake news that the Logical Indians had apologised for just a day ago.

Food grain smuggling into Punjab to make money out of MSP continues, more than 25,000 bags of wheat smuggled from Bihar seized in Bhatinda

Wheat is purchased at the rate of Rs 1,100 per quintal in Bihar and other states and sold in Punjab at around Rs 1,925 per quintal as MSP

Republic Day violence: Hours after getting bail, Deep Sidhu gets arrested by Delhi Crime Branch

Only hours after Delhi Court granted bail to Deep Sidhu in Republic Day violence case, Delhi Crime Branch has reportedly arrested him again

Former Indian Express journalist has an ‘Allah’s virus’ moment, thanks God for COVID-19, says pandemic saved Muslims from detention camps

Irena Akbar, formerly with the Indian Express, has thanked God for Covid-19 and attributed the virus to God's plan.

New York Times provides platform to Islamic bigotry, columnist claims onus to convert is on non-Muslims after Hindu boyfriend refuses to convert

The New York Times on Friday provided platform to Islamic bigotry in a blog where the author narrates her 'tragic' love story.

Panic amid pandemic: Did we get complacent as we thought we got lucky

As India struggles in second wave of coronavirus pandemic, a lowdown of how we all got complacent to the Chinese virus

Recently Popular

Karan Johar’s Dharma Production fires Kartik Aryan, not to work with him again: Here is what happened

Dharma Productions said it was pushed to the wall by “unprofessional behaviour” of Kartik Aryan during shooting of Dostana 2

Aaj Tak to air public apology on 23rd April for sharing fake news on Sushant Singh Rajput, pay Rs 1 lac fine: Details

Aaj Tak has been asked by the NBSA (News Broadcasting Standard Authority) to air a public apology for fake news on Sushant Singh Rajput

Andhra Pradesh man hacks family of six including two children to avenge the rape of his daughter: Details

Andhra Pradesh police confirmed that the incident was a fall out of a old feud between the accused and the victim family

Derek O’Brien’s Clubhouse interaction exposes how TMC fears the prospect of loss in West Bengal: Three statements made and what they mean

Perhaps to fire-fight what Prashant Kishor said, Derek O'Brien appeared on Clubhouse for a short interaction with select 'liberals'.

Kangana Ranaut slams Karan Johar after Dharma Productions fires Kartik Aryan, tells them not to ‘force him to hang himself’ like SSR

Kangana Ranaut has hit out at Karan Johar and Dharma Productions after Kartik Aryan was fired from Dostana 2.

Justice Chandrachud apologises to a lawyer, asks him to go rest since he was fasting for Ramzan

Justice Chandrachud of the Supreme Court apologised to a Muslim lawyer for not knowing that he had been fasting during the month of Ramzan.
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

254,077FansLike
529,791FollowersFollow
24,200SubscribersSubscribe