Three Chola-era bronze idols seized from German man in Auroville


The antique idols of Nataraja, Amman and Chandrasekhara were found concealed in the attic of the man’s home and are estimated to be worth several crores

The antique idols of Nataraja, Amman and Chandrasekhara were found concealed in the attic of the man’s home and are estimated to be worth several crores

Three Chola-era bronze idols, have been seized from the residence of a German national in Auroville, said the Idol Wing Police CID, on Tuesday.

The German man and his wife, Poppo Pingel, 80 and Mona Pingel, have been interrogated, for the clandestine possession of antique idols that are meant to be in temples for devotees to worship at. The idols were found hidden in the attic of a house where the couple lived.

The Idol Wing received information from a source stating that a German national and his wife, residing at Irumbai, Kottakarai were in clandestine possession of antique artefacts of the Chola era.

The Director General of Police, Idol Wing CID (DGP IWCID) K. Jayanth Murali, and Inspector General of Police R. Dhinakaran, planned to conduct a search operation. After reconnaissance surveys and after verifying the information they had received, the Idol Wing obtained a search order from the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kumbakonam.

On Monday afternoon, a special team of police from the Idol Wing headed by Inspector Indira conducted a search of the residence of the Mr. Pingel at Yantra Community, Irumbai, Kottakarai, Auroville in Villupuram district. They seized antique bronze idols of Nataraja, Amman and Chandrasekhara that were concealed in an attic on the first floor of the sprawling house. The antique idols, experts believe could belong to the Chola era, are reported to be worth several crores in the international market.

When the search began, the Idol Wing team encountered resistance from the residents of the house despite their having a valid order.

mr. Jayanth Murali said, after overcoming the resistance, the team initially found nothing. When they intensified the search on the house’s first floor, they found three antique idols concealed in the attic of the bedroom. When the German man was questioned about the antique idols, he did not have any papers and refused to answer queries regarding the origin or the source from which he had obtained the idols,” he said.

“A probe is on to find out if the German national had [previously] smuggled out antique idols from India into Germany and the persons from whom he had purchased or sourced the idols,” said the DGP, IW CID, in a press release.



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