The Idol Wing, a part of the Economic Offences Wing of the Tamil Nadu police has issued summons to businessman Ranvir Shah and seven associates of businesswoman Kiran Rao, including a senior manager, Dayanidhi.
Both Ranvir Shah and Kiran Rao's associates are expected to appear at the Idol Wing office in Kumbakkonam on Tuesday.
According to media reports, the Idol Wing has unearthed as many as 23 idols and statues at Kiran Rao's Teynampet residence in raids since Saturday.
According to one news report, the investigating officials have questioned why the antique idols had been buried in Kiran Rao's house.
Chennai-based Kiran Rao launched the Amethyst Cafe on Whites Road, Royapettah in 2002. She also has business partnerships with the Chamiers Cafe, and Bhandej and Amrapalli Gold and Silver boutique in Nungambakkam.
The Idol Wing, headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police, Idol Wing CID, AG Pon Manickavel has been leading a crackdown over the past several months that has involved big names from the city.
In September, the Idol Wing conducted a major bust at the Saidapet residence of Ranvir Shah, founder of Prakriti Foundation where 89 statues and pillars worth over Rs 100 crore were seized.
The Idol Wing had earlier raided Ranvir’s house and had found idols in his possession. However, at the time, the philanthropist claimed that he had the requisite permission to keep them. The investigation is to verify if the collection was illegal.
Both Kiran Rao and Ranvir Shah are listed as Board of Directors of KCP Sugar and Industries Corporation Limited. While Kiran Rao is named as Executive Director, Ranvir Shah is named as Independent Director.
In August this year, the Madras High Court issued an interim stay on the Tamil Nadu government’s order transferring all idol theft cases to the CBI. While the government had argued that the Idol Wing was not functioning efficiently, a Bench of Justices R Mahadevan and PD Audikesavalu asked, “Why was such an order issued by the government and how can such an order be issued when the matter is pending in the court?”