Stolen idol of Goddess Uma Maheswari to return from Singapore

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Jun 15, 2015, 11:06 am IST
Updated Jan 10, 2016, 8:38 am IST
Singapore Asian civilisations museum got it from Subash Kapoor for Rs 3.8 crore
9th century idol of Goddess Uma Maheswari, originally from Sripuranthan temple in Ariyalur district
 9th century idol of Goddess Uma Maheswari, originally from Sripuranthan temple in Ariyalur district

Chennai: The 9th century idol of Goddess Uma Maheswari, originally from Sripuranthan temple in Ariyalur district, and now placed in the Singapore Asian civilisations museum, will soon be returning to Tamil Nadu, according to sources in the idol wing of the Tamil Nadu police.“We have written to the ministry of home affairs and they have already taken up the matter with the Singapore authorities. They are convinced that the idol was stolen from the Tamil Nadu temple.

The museum had purchased the idol from international idol smuggler Subash Kapoor who was running his antique store in Manhattan, for Rs3.8 crore,” sources said. The TN police are expecting good news this month from Singapore officials.The idol of Nataraja and Uma Maheswari were worshipped in the Sripuranthan temple. Subhash Kapoor sold the Nataraja idol to an Australian museum and the Uma Maheswari idol to Singapore.

 

The Australian authorities had returned the antique to India a few months ago. Now, the pair will be together when the Uma Maheswari idol returns from Singapore. The Singapore museum has around 30 Indian artifacts purchased from Kapoor, most from south India.There are about six idols made of stone and two metal idols of Hindu gods, whose ages can be traced to the 10th and 11th centuries.

Subash Kapoor is now languishing in Puzhal jail, near Chennai. He was extradited to India in July 2012 after he was arrested in Germany the previous year. After his arrest, several museums across the world started disclosing that they had purchased Indian artifacts from his antique shop ‘Art of the Past’ in Manhattan. Some museums in the US have begun depositing the idols purchased from him with homeland security officials, stating that they were not aware that the items had been smuggled into the country.

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