Gods on sale!

Published: 25 October, 2011 06:49 IST | Anurag Jadli |

Two antique idols worth crores recovered; three West Bengal residents arrested while trying to strike a deal at Sainik Farm area in south Delhi

Two antique idols worth crores recovered; three West Bengal residents arrested while trying to strike a deal at Sainik Farm area in south Delhi

Two antique sculptures of Lord Krishna, potentially worth crores, were recovered by Delhi police yesterday. Three persons from West Bengal were also arrested from Sainik Farm in south Delhi in this regard.

Caught! The accused in police custody

According to the police, the three had come to Delhi to dispose of the idols. The accused have been identified as Atiar Rehman Sheikh (27), Firoz Sheikh (32) and Abdulla Mandal (39). "These three were involved in the sale and purchase of antique sculptures. The two idols of Lord Krishna in standing posture are over 200 years old. The culprits were arrested while they were going to sell these to a dealer in Sainik Farm area," said a police officer. 

The statues recovered from their possession. Pics/Mid Day


The police got a tip-off that on October 23, three persons temporarily staying in Rajiv Nagar area of Gurgaon and originally belonging to West Bengal would visit Saket to further proceed to Sainik Farm to dispose off some antique sculptures. "A trap was laid near Asian Market, Pushpa Vihar opposite Sainik Farm.

Three persons carrying bags were intercepted for checking. The bag carried by Atiar had an idol of Lord Krishna in a standing posture in bansuri mudra, duly wrapped in a Bangla newspaper painted black to conceal its identity.  Another similar idol of Lord Krishna was seized from Firoz Sheikh. The accused could not show any documentary proof that would explain the situation," said Chhaya Sharma, DCP (south).  

She added, "For preliminary examination, both the idols were taken to Red Fort Naubat Khana to the officials of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) who on preliminary inspection reported that they are Astadhatu idols of Krishna, approximately 200 years old and are antique pieces."

Modus operandi
During police investigation the culprits disclosed that they were residents of West Bengal and Atiar Rehman was the kingpin of the gang. He had contacted one Mushraff of West Bengal, a dealer of antique articles and asked him to send a few items to him through his men so that these can be disposed of in Delhi to some persons who could give them a good price.  Mushraff did not disclose from where he had brought these two sculptures.  Atiar was trying to locate the buyer as identified by Mushraff living in Sainik Farm to deliver the consignment.  

It's a steal
Earlier this month, burglars broke into the house of renowned classical singer Prof Rita Ganguly in the high-security New Delhi area and decamped with antiques and mementos, including one gifted by former prime minister Indira Gandhi. Police said the burglars climbed the wall of her house located at Safdar Hashmi road in Connaught Place. "The burglars took items they found in the puja room, constructed in the lawn. They didn't try to enter the house," a senior police officer said. Ganguly, a Padma Shri winner, came to know about the theft when she entered the puja (prayer) room at around 7am. She then informed the police.

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