Raghunathji temple theft: SIT releases pictures of 3 suspects

Shimla: The Special Investigating Team (SIT) investigating the theft of ancient idols from Raghunathji temple in Kullu has released seven pictures of three suspects and has asked for the public's help to identify them.

The SIT members scanned the CCTV footage of camera in the city and found three suspects close to the place of crime in the early morning of December 9.

The suspects were spotted between Sarvari and Bus Stand, Inspector general of Police P L Thakur said today. The suspected youth are in the age group of 20 to 27 years and all three are seen in the pictures released by the police.

The pictures are not clear due to morning fog but those who know them can identify them, police said. The Government had already announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for providing reliable clue about the culprits.

"The SIT is investigating the case from all angles and had gathered physical evidence like use of rope and tools by the culprits, foot prints, and footage of CCTVs in Kullu town, Bhunter, Bijora and Manali are being also analyzed by experts and suspects are also being rounded up for interrogation," he said.

The five members SIT headed by DSP Suresh Chauhan which also included Rajiv, cell phone forensic expert from CID, is working on all angles but it is not easy to get instant results as the culprits appear to be professional criminals who committed the theft with great professionalism, Thakur said.

"We are hopeful of making some major headway after release of pictures of suspects,"he added.

Ancient 'ashtadhatu' idols of Lord Rama, Hanuman along with idols made of gold and silver of other deities worth crores of rupees were stolen by thieves from Raghunathji temple at Sultanpur in Rupi Palace at Kullu last week.

The idols of Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman were brought from Ayodhya to Kullu in 1651 during the regime of Raja Jagat Singh.

The famous Dussehra festival of Kullu started after the idols of Raghunathji, Sita and Hanuman were brought to Kullu.

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