Chennai: Strict measures are in place to retrieve a bronze idol of Kalasamhara Murthy of Sri Kasi Viswanatha temple at Muthamalapuram in Thanjavur from Christie’s in the United States, the idol wing of the Tamil Nadu police said on Friday.
The police said that they had swung into action after receiving a complaint from the temple executive officer G. Suresh about the idol being stolen from the temple 50 years ago. In a complaint filed on November 6, 2020, the executive officer said that the idol was replaced by a fake replica.
The investigating officers of the idol wing police approached the French Institute of Pondicherry and got the pictures of the idol retrieved. According to U. Muthuraja, Deputy Superintendent of Police who is heading the operation of the idol wing searched several auction centres, galleries and libraries across the world.
In the statement, the idol wing of the police said that it finally zeroed in on the photograph of an idol at the Christies auction centre that was similar to the bronze idol of Kalasamhara Murthy.
Jayant Murali, Director General of Police (DGP), Idol wing in the statement said, “An expert comparison report confirmed the fact that both the photo image of the Kala Samhara Moorthy taken by the Frech Institute Pondicherry and the image of the idol downloaded from the website of Christies.com were the same and the metal idol kept at the temple was fake.”
The idol wing of the police said that Christie’s auction centre had put the price of the idol at USD 4,35,000.
The idol wing police said that it has taken steps to retrieve the bronze idol from the auction centre.