Source: The Hindu
The Belgaum Police busted an inter-State antique smuggling racket and seized a priceless copper-brass idol of Goddess Lakshmi Devi and three persons on Friday.
Quoting antique experts who were shown the idol immediately, Superintendent of Police Hemant Nimbalkar said the idol was at least 700 years old and resembled the artefact created under the Chola rulers of South India. The idol would be handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India for further investigation.
He said that acting on a tip off, a team of city police officials kept constant watch on the movements of the accused and arrested them while they were carrying the idol near Argan Talab on Belgaum-Hindalga Road.
The names of the arrested persons were given as Asgar Ali (35) and Vilas (45), both from Uchagaon in Belgaum taluk, and Lakshman (42) of Koulge in Chandgad taluk of Kolhapur district in Maharashtra. The police also seized two motorcycles from the accused.
He said the accused, who had procured the idol from Trichy in Tamil Nadu, had struck a fresh deal with a local agent for Rs. 1.50 crore. Another deal was being worked for Rs. 10 crore with an antique dealer in the country, suspected to be in Mumbai, he said. The police would find out whether the accused were involved in similar cases in the State and elsewhere and also about their links.