Scores of Stolen Temple Murthis Located in Museums Abroad

A gigantic idol of Lord Nataraja and Meenadarar was believed to have been sold for a huge sum. (Representational Image)

CHENNAI, INDIA, May 20, 2017 ( Deccan Chronicle): A major murthi theft racket involving idol trafficker Subhash Chandra Kapoor, who has been arrested and detained in Tiruchy prison for his involvement in various smuggling cases, has come to light more than 40 years after a large number of Deity statues that had been robbed from an ancient Saivite temple at Veerasolapuram near Kallakurichi in Villupuram district, have been located. The temple was built by during the period of Emperor Rajendra Chozan. Several murthis stolen from the nearly 1,000 year old Sri Arthanareeswara temple, Veerasolapuram have been found in museums in USA. Many others could not be traced, an art enthusiast Vijayakumar said.

According to an estimate, 78 ancient murthis were robbed from the shrine. A local resident, Varadan, said more than 40 years ago several murthis were stolen from the temple. The cops nabbed 4 persons and seized four murthis from a river bed near the temple. However, no case has been registered in connection with murthi theft so far. As the local residents were unable to maintain the temple, the murthis were handed over to Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department. After the Madras High court formed the special Idol Wing headed by A.G. Pon Manickavel, Inspector General, the case was handed over to the wing, which commenced the investigation recently. Preliminary investigation reveals that the ancient murthis were allegedly stolen by a gang led by Subhash Kapoor in 1977-1978.

Source: Deccan Chronicle