Police thwart bid to export ancient stone idol from Chennai to Germany

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The stone idol of Lord Ram was found on the premises of a shipping company; believed to be worth ₹1 crore

Idol Wing CID officers detected an attempt to illegally export a stone idol, believed to be an antique, from Chennai to Germany.

On Friday, based on an anonymous tip received by Idol Wing CID Police personnel in Chennai, on the orders of the Additional Superintendent of Police, K. Jayanth Murali, a special police team conducted a search of the premises of SASL Shipping Private Ltd in Alandur. During the search, an ancient stone idol of Lord Ram measuring approximately 2ft in height and 28cm in width, with a pedestal, was found hidden away. Further investigations revealed that the stone idol was intended to be exported overseas by air. The transport company could not provide any legal and valid explanation or documentation for their possession of the ancient idol, police said.

Mr. Murali, “We also have information about 10 to 15 other ancient idols and we are looking for them. The Archaeological Survey of India has declared the idol of Lord Ram to be an antiquity.

The idol was seized because the shipping company had no proper certification for it. It is estimated to be worth more than ₹1 crore. Further investigations are ongoing.

“Our investigation revealed that the exporter is a woman from Kilpauk. She is of Indian origin and a German citizen. The shipper handed it over to the shipping company and traveled to Germany to receive the idol there. We will also investigate in Germany,” Mr. Murali said.

This is the second seizure of idols that were to be exported from the city, in the past four months. In October last year, the Idol Wing CID seized 17 ancient idols made of panchaloha and wood, and Thanjavur paintings from a godown in Mylapore. These antiquities were concealed in packages intended to be sent by courier to the United States of America.

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