Fifty years after two idols, believed to be worth Rs 100 crore, went missing from the big temple in Thanjavur, the Tamil Nadu Idol Wing has registered a case to investigate the crime.
On Friday, the team registered a complaint that two ancient bronze idols of Emperor Raja Raja Chola and his consort Lokmadevi have been stolen from Brihadeeswarar temple, according to a report in The Hindu. The case was registered after the High Court directed the Idol Wing to look into missing bronze idols, following a petition by former minister VV Swaminathan.
The idol wing filed the complaint in the Thanjavur West police station, after a preliminary inquiry. The idols reportedly valued at Rs 60 crore and Rs 40 crore respectively are now kept in the Calico museum and Sarabhai Foundation Galleries in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Speaking to TNM, the Economic offences wing, of which the Idol Wing is a part, confirmed that the idols were in Ahmedabad. Officials from the Calico museum in Ahmedabad, where one of the idols is now found, refused to comment on the presence of the idols. However, the website of the Calico museum mentions a section dedicated to ‘sacred bronzes from South India.’
An FIR based on the complaint has also been filed, according to the report. The FIR will turn it into a case on further investigations and the case will be transferred back to the Idol Wing in all probability, the report stated.
Thanjavur Superintendent of police, T Senthilkumar, in a report in The New Indian Express, stated the the stolen idols had earlier been kept in the north western side of the Mahamandapam.
The bronze statues, 13 in number, were donated to the temple by the then Chieftain of Kodumbalur during the 29 th year of the reign of the emperor. Apart from the idols of Raja Raja Chola I and Lokmadevi, there is no word of the other 11 idols yet.
Further, the case is loaded with historical significance as there is no evidence of any statue of the emperor being made during his lifetime, apart from the one in the Ahmedabad museum, the report stated.