Five hundred crores worth of antique emerald idol has been seized from an education and financial institution owner’s locker in Tamil Nadu.
Acting on a tip-off that temple idols were hoarded at a house, the idol wing police searched the house of one Samyappan in Arulananda Nagar in Thanjavur on December 30. Samyappan (80) did not respond to the summons for an inquiry. He was admitted to a hospital for an ailment. Hence a team led by Idol wing Additional Superintendent of Police R Rajaram and P Ashok Natarajan searched the house of Samyappan and spoke to the occupants of the house. When quizzed his son Aruna Baskar (50), he told the police that the emerald idol was in a bank locker, and his father saved the priceless-vintage idol in a locker rented out by an educational and financial institution. He could not specify how the family acquired this rare vintage idol. The police team seized the emerald Shiva idol from the bank locker and are probing where it could have been stolen.
The police confiscated the idol when the family could not substantiate its claim over the property with documents. Scientific analysis will be carried out to ascertain its antiquity, and the Idol wing police have registered a case. The seized idol could be worth Rs 500 crore. It is suspected that it might have been stolen from the ancient Sri Thiaygaraja Swamy temple, administered by Dharamapuram Adheenam in Thirukkuvalai, near Nagapattinam district in 2016. The idol stolen from the temple dates back to thousands of years and is believed to have been brought by King Rajendra Chola from East Asian countries during his reign. DGP C. Sylendra Babu announced a cash reward of Rs 50,000 to the team that made the recovery of the rare antique idol as a New- year gift.
On March 17, 2017, the idol wing sleuths seized an emerald idol weighing over seven kilograms and worth over Rs 25 crore in Tharamangalam near Salem. Five people, including a woman, were arrested. Nearly three weeks after this seizure, another one was recovered in Govindapuram in Kumbakonam and two persons said to be members of DMK were arrested. The idol was stolen from temples.