Puducherry, Oct 10 : The Idol wing of Tamil Nadu CID has retrieved a huge cache of ancient idols from a Indian born French individual in the town of Puducherry. The idols were authentic Antiquities dating back to the reigns of various rulers of the Chola dynasty, which were found stacked at the residence of Jean Paul Rajarathinam.
A 20 member team of CID Tamil Nadu Idol wing led by Superintendent of Police R Sakthivel carried out the operation. The cache recovered during the encounter counted a total of 74 ancient idols. Among these, 60 were bronze idols and remaining 14 were sculpted out of stone. The recent encounter was a part of huge smuggling network which functioned on the antiquities and ancient idols being sold illegally in international market. The idols were stolen from various ancient temples across the state of Tamil Nadu.
The suspected place where the idols were kept hidden was a ancestral house on Romain Rolland Street, opposite the Department of Art and Culture. The house was searched in the presence of owner Rajarathinam when the idols were recovered. It was estimated that the antiquities were being sold at a price of crores per idol.
The raid on Rajarathinam's property is not an isolated event but is linked to the 2016 raid on Marie Therese Ananthi Vanina's property. During the 2016 raid 11 ancient idols were recovered while Vanina was arrested in 2019 in Chennai for the crime of illegaly exporting Ancient Indian antiquities to France. It is known that Rajarathinam is Vanina's brother and was equally involved in the illegitimate business.
There are several scandals running in the Union territory or in the state of Tamil Nadu linking back to Puducherry which are being busted lately and have revealed to be run through the same network.