TRICHY: After 47 years, the idol wing police have registered a case in connection with a theft of seven idols worth Rs 110 crore from the Natanapureeswarar temple near in . Based on a complaint by Vasu Iyer, the idol wing registered a case under Section 457 (2), 380(2), 120 (B) of the IPC and 25 (1) of the AAT Act 1972.

According to police, two dancing Krishna idols of 1 foot and 1.5ft, a 2.5 ft Agasthiar idol, a six-inch Ayyanar idol and a six-inch Amman idol were stolen on May 12, 1971 after miscreants broke open the front door of the temple.

A year later, there was another theft at the 1,300-year-old temple at Thandan Thottam village, 10km from Kumbakonam – the Natanapureeswarar Natarajar and the Golu Amman panchaloha idols worth ₹50 crore were stolen. All the 7 idols have still not been recovered, police said in a statement released on Thursday.

It has come to light that of these, the Natarajar idol was kept in a museum in London before it was moved to the United States, police said.

Despite repeated appeals made by then trustees of the temple Subramania Iyer and Venkatrama Iyer, no case was filed with the Natchiar Koil police station. Even appeals to successive Prime Ministers went futile. So, for the past 47 years, the case was pending without an FIR being registered, the idol wing police said.

Experts to check idols’ authenticity

Inscriptions on the temple are now in the in Thanjavur, police said. The remaining idols are being kept safely at an icon centre in the in the district. However, Vasu Iyer had stated in his complaint that many of the stolen idols had been replaced with fake ones over a period, the statement said.

The idol wing police has entrusted the responsibility of ascertaining the genuineness of the idols to an expert team of the archaeological department.

Meanwhile, a special officer appointed by the Madras high court inspected the temple.


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