The Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu police has recovered a huge cache of 74 ancient idols worth several crores. They were stacked in a businessman Jean Paul Rajarathinam’s premises in Puducherry. These ancient idols from various periods in history, some dating to the period of the Cholas, are estimated to worth several crores.
Of these, 60 are ancient bronze idols and 14 are stones. The police said that many of these idols could be panchaloha idols. They are suspected to be stolen from across Tamil Nadu over a period of time. Though the accused claim that these idols were in their possession since the time of their grandfather, the police have not brought his story and are investigating. No one has been arrested yet.
The accused businessman Rajarathinam is the brother of Marie Therese Ananthi Vanina. Vanina is of French nationality but has Indian origins. In 2016, her house was raided by idol wing officials. They had seized 11 antique bronze idols worth several crores. She was arrested in 2019 in Chennai on charges of illegally exporting stolen antique idols and artifacts for several years from Puducherry to France.