The Idol Wing CID team, led by Inspector General of Police A.G. Ponn Manickavel, conducted a surprise inspection at the Sri Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur on Saturday in connection with the theft of ancient idols from the temple. A total of 50 policemen, headed by 3 inspectors, visited and inquired into the various places inside the temple.
The inspection was part of the investigation in connection with the recovery of two ancient bronze idols of emperor Raja Raja Chola I and his royal consort Lokamadevi from a gallery in Ahmedabad in May,2018.
Ten statues, including a 1000-year-old Natarajar statue in the world-famous Thanjavur Temple, have been found to have fake statues found in the inspection of idol wing team.
A total of 10 idols have been stolen and false statues have been found by the police. Police suspect that these statues could have been stolen after 1960s. The police feel that these statues may have been changed when the royal statue of Rajendra Cholan was replaced by the statue of Rajendra Chola from this temple.
The police suggested that smuggling of these statues took place after the Thanjavur Temple came into control of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HRCE) department. The police are carrying out the necessary steps to bring back the stolen 10 statues.