Economic Offences Wing


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Bursting of international racket – Smuggling of Antiques from Ariyalur to America

Natrajar &  devi








Idols belong to the period of 11th Century

               One Subash Kapoor, the recent king pin of the international racket of transporting of Antiques, placed his head quarters at New York, USA. Kapoor was born in New Delhi, settled in New York with USA passport. He runs one private museum, ‘Art of the Past’ and another export company ‘Nimbus import inc’ at New York. He has contacts in India, Pakistan, Dubai, Hong Kong, Afganistan, Bangladesh, Indoneshia, Combodia and Bangkok. Kapoor uses a wide network of collections, museum curators and dealers to ship and sell Antique Art works with fake documents. He used to visit Tamil Nadu whenever he came to India. On 30.09.2005, Kapoor visited Chennai, stayed at Taj Connemara and met one Sanjivi Asokan. Sanjivi Asokan, a Native of Kerala, settled at Chennai being an Art dealer knows the topography of all the Antique temples and idol offenders of Tamil Nadu. He used to read the area maps and the books like South Indian idols. Kapoor asked Asokan for Antique metal idols belongs to Chola Era as they make huge demand among international Art collecters. Asokan agreed and was paid an advance.

                Then Sanjivi Asokan fixed the Sivan temple at Sree Puranthan Village in Ariyalur District which was in ruined condition and locked more than 10 years without any worship. Then he hired the local idol offenders Rathinam and Kaliaperumal of Udaiyarpalayam through a local art merchant Siva Kumar. During the month of January, 2006, on one night Rathinam and Kaliaperumal entered in to the Sivan temple, break opened the lock and took away three Antique idols out of the eight idols kept in the temple. They joined the lever of the broken lock with the adhesive solution and made the lock to appear as a locked one. Next day Sanjivi Asokan picked up the three idols and paid them 2 lakhs.

                 Sanjivi Asokan purchased some new metal idols similar to the stolen three idols. After mingling both new and stolen idols and managed to get handicraft certificate from Asst.Director, Handicraft Development office Ministry of Textiles at Chennai which certified that those idols to be exported were Artistic Handicraft products. Then he made illicit export of those idols through an export company ‘Ever Star international Services inc’ belongs to one Packiakumar, assistant of Sanjivi Asokan. The stolen idols were exported to one Nimbus imports, Exports inc at New York as directed by Subash Kapoor on 30.01.2006 from Chennai harbour.

                  Again Rathinam and Kaliaperumal enterd in to the same Sivan temple by the same metod on may, 2006 and picked-up another three Antique idols and handed over to Sanjivi for a gain of two lakhs. Using the same unconventional method, Sanjivi managed to export those Antique idols to Subash Kapoor of USA on 12.05.2006 and 28.07.2006 in two batches from Chennai harbour.

                 Some time later, as the big Natarajar idol (3 ½) of remaining two idols in the Sivan temple was huge one, Sanjivi fixed one Pitchaimani of Rajapalayam to complete the work. Pitchaimani finished the job with the assistance of Rathinam, Kaliaperumal along with new others and took away the Natarajar and Vishnu idols in a lorry belongs to one Albert and handed over to Sanjivi at Chennai for a gain of Rs.3 lakhs. By the same way, Lord Nataraja and Vishnu were send off to USA in the same way on 25.11.2006 from Chennai harbour by Sanjivi. For this illicit export of cultural Heritages of Tamil Nadu, Sanjivi was paid dollars equal to an amount of Rs.1,16,37,694/- from Kapoor’s account in HSBC Bank, New York.

                 No body in Sree Puranthan village noticed this incident. One fine morning after two years over, on 14.06.2008, HR & CE officials visited the Sivan temple to shift the Antique idols to nearest icon centre as they did in other temples directed by Government to safe guard the Antiques. But the villages restrained their process and promised to safeguard the idols by providing a new grill gate. After the grill gate was ready, on 18.08.2008, HR & CE officers, local police and the villagers tried to open the lock and found the lock was broken. Idols were stolen away. A case was registered in Vikramangalam PS Cr.No.133/08 u/s 380(1) IPC on the complaint of the Executive officer, HR & CE of the Pragadeeswarar templeAt this juncture, based on their routine course of information network, Idol Wing-CID managed to secure Rathinam and Kaliaperumal of Udaiyarpalayam at Chennai on 24.08.2008 while they came to meet Sanjivi Asokan to sale one Amman idol. A case was registered in Idol Wing CID Cr.No.12/08 u/s 41(d) & 102 CrPC. Further investigation spilled the beans of international story of Antiques traveled from Ariyalur to America. Due to the international ramification, Vikramangalam case in Cr.No.133/08 was transferred to Idol Wing CID on 03.11.2008. Sanjivi ASokan and his export agent Packiakumar were arrested at Cochin on 25.03.2009. Subsequently the remaining accused Sivakumar, Pitchaimani, Arunachalam, Sriram,Kandasamy,Marisamy and Albert Immanuel were arrested. Qualis car belongs to Sanjivi and lorry belongs to Albert were recovered. Sanjivi was detained under TN.Act 14 of 1982. On tremendous efforts, Idol Wing collected the relevant document, evidence  from Handicraft depot, shipping bills of Customs, courier receipts and bank documents for money transaction. Efforts are being taken through CBI-Interpol to recover all the eight stolen idols from New York. J.M court, Jeyamkondam issued Non-bailable warrant against Subash Kapoor of New York. The same is sent to Interpol for issue of red alert notice against Kapoor and for execution of the same.

Smuggling of 12th Century antique Natarajar and other Idols to Hong Kong (2008)


Dancing Siva





Antique idols belongs to 12th Century.

          The arrest of Sanjeevi Ashokan in the Vikramangalam case exposed the criminal network in smuggling of antique idols out of our country. Sanjeevi Ashokan used to select Chola period temples, which were in ruins, for committing theft of antique idols, as theft in such temples would not be known soon after the crime. For identifying temples to commit the crime, he used to refer to books such as South Indian Bronzes, Master pieces of Indian Sculptures and Survey Maps. As discussed in the case of idol theft at Pragadheeawarar temple in Sripuranthan, Sanjivi Asokan has network with Subash Kapoor of USA. After receiving an advance amount, Sanjivi Asokan searched his next ruined temple in Art Craft books and maps. Sanjivi very easily located his next target in the Chola region. As the Chola period Sundareswarar Temple at Suthamalli Village in Ariyalur district was in a dilapidated condition, the HR & CE officials shifted the antique idols from Sundareswarar Temple to the nearest Varadharaja Perumal Temple in the same village. But this temple was also in a dilapidated condition and worships used to be conducted once in 3 or 4 months. After ascertaining these facts, Sanjeevi Ashokan identified this temple to one Marisamy of Rajapalayam who was running antique shops at Rajapalayam and Pondicherry. Thereafter, Marisamy and his associates Pitchaimani, Sriram and Parthiban committed theft of 18 antique idols from Varadharaja Perumal Temple at Suthamalli on two days during February 2008. After the theft, Marisamy transported these idols in a lorry to Chennai and handed over 10 idols to Sanjeevi Ashokan, for which Marisamy had received Rs. 25 lakhs. Marisamy disposed the remaining 8 antique idols to an unknown foreigner through his antique shop at Pondicherry.

           Sanjeevi Ashokan, as mentioned earlier, obtained export handicraft certificates by mingling new idols along with stolen antique idols and exported ten stolen antique idols received from Marisamy through Chennai Port on March 6, 2008 to one Union Link Int. Movers (HK) Ink at Hong Kong. Sanjeevi Ashokan was paid an amount of Rs.1,01,10,418/- by Subash Kapoor through HSBC bank towards the cost of export of ten antique idols.

           The theft of 18 antique idols from Varadharaja Perumal Temple at Suthamalli came to light only after two months of the occurrence when the temple priest opened the doors of the temple on April 14, 2008 to perform Tamil New Year Pooja. By that time, ten antique idols of the temple had reached Hong Kong. A case was registered in Udayarpalayam Police Station Cr.No. 65/08 u/s 457, 380 IPC on April 14, 2008. Later, the case was transferred to Idol Wing CID on June 12, 2009.

Present Stage of the Case :


There were two temple burglaries in Sripuranthan Village and Suthamally Village during 2006 and 2008 which 28 antique idols of Hindu Deities of immeasurable value were stolen and subsequently smuggled out of India and illegally exported to USA. These two specially grave burglaries are revealed to be an offshoot of a common criminal conspiracy hatched during 2006 at Taj Connemara 5 Star Hotel, Chennai, Tamil Nadu State.


The case in Vikkramangalam Police Station Crime Number 133/2008 was registered on 22.08.2008 under section 380(2) Indian Penal Code and was transferred to Idol Wing-Criminal Investigation Wing, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India for investigation. The brief of the case is that 8 antique idols of Hindu deities belonging to Chola Period of 11th – 12th Century A.D. were burgled from Prahatheeshwarar Temple, Sripuranthan Village prior to 22.08.2008 by a gang of professional burglars in furtherance of a common criminal conspiracy between Subash Chandra Kapoor and Sanjivi Ashokan, Marichamy, Pitchaimani. All the 8 burgled idols were subsequenttly illegally exported during 2006 through four shipments by Sanjivi Ashokan, Packiakumar, Pitchaimani from Chennai Sea Port to M/s.Nimbus Import Export Inc., New York owned by Subash Chandra Kapoor. Sanjivi Ashokan in league with Packiakumar and Pitchaimani fabricated false documents and procured similar looking metal idols and illegally exported to Subash Chandra Kapoor at New York.


Extradition proceedings were initiated and Subash Chandra Kapoor arrested by German Police was brought back to India and produced before the Hon’ble Court and remanded to Judicial Custody and he is presently lodged in Central Prison, Puzhal, Chennai.


The case in Udayarpalayam Police Station Crime Number 65/2008 was registered on 14.04.2008 under section 457(2), 380(2) Indian Penal Code and was transferred to Idol Wing-Criminal Investigation Department, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India for investigation. The brief of the case is that 20 antique idols of Hindu deities belonging to Chola Period of 11th – 12th Century A.D. were burgled prior to 14.04.2008 from Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Suthamally Village by seven members of the same gang. Subsequently the accused Sanjivi Ashokan, Marichamy, Pitchaimani using the same Modus Operandi, illegally exported 19 antique bronze idols during 2008 from Chennai Sea Port to Subash Chandra Kapoor at New York via Hong Kong and London.


On receipt of 27 antique idols at New York, Subash Chandra Kapoor had sold some of these antique idols and some of them are still in his ‘Art of the Past’ gallery and ‘Sophia Self Storage’ in New York in USA. Some of these idols were found to have been sold to various museums and art collectors in USA, Brussels, Singapore and Australia.


Letter Rogatories have been sent to the competent authorities in USA and Australia for examine the witnesses and recovery of the burgled idols. The action taken report from USA and Australia are awaited.


Charge Sheet has been filed in Udayarpalayam P.S. Cr.No.65/2008 on 10.10.2012 before the Hon’ble Judicial Magistrate, Jayankondam and was taken on file in C.C.No.320/2012. The trial is yet to commence. Charge sheet in the other case in Vikkramangalam P.S. Cr.No.133/2008 will be filed shortly and trial commence after receiving consent of the Government of Republic of Germany.

Busting of inter-district gang involved in idol thefts (2010)

             A number of inter-district idol theft cases of 2007, which were closed as undetected by local police, were solved by the Idol Wing CID. Working on a tip off, the special team secured one Immanuvel @ Sasikumar, aged 37, of Pallur near Arakkonam along with two of his associates, namely Pitchaimani and Madasamy from a lodge at Periamedu, Chennai in Idol Wing CID Cr.No. 01/2010 u/s 41(d) & 102 Cr.P.C on January 30, 2010 and recovered one Krishnar Idol from them. Interrogation  of these three persons revealed that Immanuvel,  who was Rev. Father in a church, was organizing idol  thefts from abandoned temples with the help of one Siva and Selvam of Kancheepuram and also with the assistance of one Jeganathan and Velu of his native village Pallur. With the help of one street vender Madasamy, the said Immanuvel came in touch with one Marisamy of Pondicherry and Pitchaimani of Rajapalayam, who were dealing with stolen idols. Interrogation of Immanuvel further revealed that after he had identified abandoned temples, his associates had committed thefts of four antique idols from one Bajanai Temple at Eralacherry in Vellore District (a case in Kaveripakkam P.S. Cr.No.27/07 u/s 457, 380 IPC was registered on January 24, 2007)  five antique idols from Jain Temple at Esakulathur in Thiruvannamalai district (a case in Thesur P.S. Cr.No.79/07 u/s 457, 380 IPC was registered on November 28, 2007), five idols from Perumal Temple at Nerumbur in Kancheepuram district (a case in Thirukazhukundram P.S. Cr.No.96/08 u/s 457, 380 IPC was registered on March 10, 2008) and two idols from Lakshmi Narayanan Temple at Sithudaiyur in Ariyalur district (a case in Kuvagam P.S. Cr.No.13/07 u/s 457, 380 IPC was registered on February 25, 2007). All the associates of Immanuvel concerned in these four idol theft cases were arrested and recovered ten idols. The said four idol theft cases which were closed earlier as undetected by the local police, were reopened for further investigation by the districts concerned.

Recovery of 100 years old stolen Maragathalingam (1992)

          While Investing the theft of Maragathalingam from Piravi Maruntheeswarar temple at Thiruthuraipoondi, Thiruvarur District, the investigating team had the rare good luck to recover another Maragathalingam, weighing nearly 201 gms and arrest Devasenathipathy of Thiruvennainallur, Karthikeyan and Velmurugan of Villupuram District at Villupuram Bus stand on December 6, 2009 in Idol Wing CID Cr.No.10/2009 u/s 41(d) & 102 Cr.P.C.

           Investigation disclosed that the said Maragathalingam was stolen from Thiyagarajaswamy temple at Thirukkaravasal in Thiruvarur District during 1992 for which a case was registered on August 8, 1992 in Valivalam Police Station Cr.No. 339/1992 u/s 454 and 380 IPC, which was later transferred to Idol Wing CID for further investigation on November 11, 1994 by the DGP. However, the case was closed as undetected in November 25, 1999. The temple officials and the donor family were examined during investigation to identify the seized Maragathalingam and they confirmed Thiyagarajaswamy temple at Thirukkaravasal in Thiruvaru District during 1992, by identifying certain specific marks on this idol. This Maragathalingam was handed over to the Executive Officer of Thiyagarajaswamy temple at Thirukkaravasal in Thiruvaru District on December 14, 2009 by the Court of Judicial Magistrate I, Villupuram for conducting Poojas. Accordingly the Maragathalingam was installed in the temple for worship. This case is under investigation to trace the other accused involved in theft of Maragathalingam from Thiyagarajaswamy temple at Thirukkaravasal in Thiruvarur District. All the three accused arrested in this case were released on bail.

Tracing of stolen Vidankar from Thiruthuraipoondi (2009)

Kulothunga Cholan, the second Chola King, was the architect of Piravi Maruntheeswarar temple at Thiruthuraipoondi in Thiruvarur District. The special attraction of the temple is “Vidankar”, which means the Maragathalingam. The said Maragathalingam from Piravi Maruntheeswarar temple was stolen on February 19, 2009 by cutting the iron window grills of the temple and a case was registered in Thiruthuraipoondi PS. Cr.No.70/2009 u/s 457, 380 IPC. The said occurrence created lot of unrest a month Hindu pilgrims and devotees. In a decoy deployed by IDOL Wing CID under the guise of a Bangalore merchant to buy antique artifact, the special team thus formed secured one Ramesh of Pattukkottai and Senthil of Valangaiman on October 25, 2009 at Koyambedu and recovered one Maragathalingam weighing 990 gms from them in IDOL Wing CID Cr.No.08/2009 u/s 41(d) & 102 Cr.P.C. Investigation disclosed that the recovered Maragathalingam was the one stolen from Piravi Maruntheeswarar temple of Thiruthuraipoondi. The interrogation of these two accused revealed that they had conspired to commit theft of the Maragathalingam of Piravi Maruntheeswarar temple along with Needur Viji while they were in the Central Prison, Trichy and that the idea was mooted by an idol theft offender Vaithialingam of Vedharanyam, who promised to sell the lingam for Rs. 50 Crores. After release form the prison, Needur Viji managed to find a gang lead by Merlin to commit theft of the lingam for which an advance of Rs. 2.5 lakhs was paid. Before executing the crime, the gang made several visits to the temple. After commission of the crime, the lingam was kept in an empty gas cylinder and buried near the house of Merlin for some time and later, it came to the hands of Ramesh and Needur Viji for sale. The gang used 13 sim cards, which were obtained by furnishing fake photographs and ration cards to avoid detection. All the accused concerned in this crime have been arrested. As per the Court order, the Maragathalingam was handed over to Piravi Maruntheeswarar Temple for conducting Pooja. This case was transferred to Thiruthuraipoondi P.S. on 19.01.2010


  1. Thottiyam PS Cr.No.489/2004 u/s 457 & 380 IPC

          On 4.12.2004, Prathosa Nayagi Amman Metal Idol and Sivalingabanam Stone Idol were stolen from Arulmigu Maragathajaleshwarar Temple, Thiruvenkoilmalai at Thottiyam, Trichy District. The case is Detected and 5 accused  namely 1.Rajasekar, 2.Rajendran, 3.Sankar, 4Karnan, 5.Paulraj.were arrested from Thottiyam and the properties were recovered.

  1. Palavoor PS.Cr.No.114/2005 u/s 457 & 380 IPC.

          On 19.06.2005, 13 Metal Idols were stolen from Arulmigu Narumpoonathar Temple at Palavoor, Tirunelveli District. Two accused Shajahan & Arunachalam of Madurai were arrested. Five Metal Idols viz., Sri Subramaniyar, Sivagami Amman, Veiyal Katha Amman, Sri Krishnar & Sri Astthiradevar were recovered. Subsequently other four accused  Saudi Murugan, Balaji, Mohan, and Dinahar were arrested. And another four idols were recovered.



                 Sivagami  Amman



                         Sri Krishnar

  1. Idol Wing CID. Cr.No.1/2006 u/s 41(d) & 102 Cr.P.C.

              On 28.02.2006, One Vishnu Stone Idol was recovered and the accused Balamurgan was arrested. The Idol was declared as Antique belonging to 13th century by the Archaeology Department. The case  was charged and pending trial before Addl. CMM Court at Egmore, Chennai.


                                                                     Vishnu Stone Idol

4.     Idol Theft Offenders Booked Under GOONDA'S Act :

      (Idols smuggled to New York - yet to be recovered by Idol Wing CID)

                                    l                l

                                          Chandrasekar                          Manikavasagar


                                                               Natarajar and Sivagami

                                l                 l

                                Somaskanthar Amman                                       Thani Amman

              l              l

                                            Vinayagar                                      Thirugnanasambanthar




1.Cr.No. 1/2012 u/s 41(d) & 102 Cr.PC ,380 IPC


          This case was detected on 29.12.2010 at  Koraty Village, Udayanatha Eswarn Temple and recovered three stone idols namely 1) Murugan Stone Idols 2) Devi Stone Idols 3) Sandigeswarar Stone Idols and  arrested 4 accused namely 1) Sathish@Sathishkumar  S/o Selvaraj, Visalam St, Karaikudi, Sivagangai Dt 2) Siva @ Sivakumar  S/o Primanayagam, Gandhipuram, VOC Road, karaikudi, Sivagangai Dt 3) Vellalaichamy S/o Samayan, Konkarathy Village, Kandaramanicam post, Thirupattur Tk, Sivagangai Dt 4) Muthukumar S/o Sapapathy,  Gandhipuram, V.O.C. Road, Karaikudi, Sivagangai Dt. The case was charged and pending trial


2.Cr.No. 2/2012 u/s 457(2), 380(2), 411, 414 r/w 34 & 109 IPC


          This case was detected on 01.03.2012 at  P.H.Road, Chennai and one Vishnu Metal Idol  was recovered  from  five accused were arrested namely 1) Jamuna  D/o Veerasamy vellalar 2) Dilli Babu S/o Jayaraman Naidu 3) Jalees Rahman  S/o Mohamad Ali 4) Gopal  5) Murugesan.  Now This case was charged on 04.03.2013 and pending trial. The origin of the metal idol is to be deciphered.  


3. Cr.No. 3/2012 u/s 447, 380 (2) 120 (B) 201 IPC:


        This case was detected on 20.5.2012 at Devakottai  while enquiring one Balakumaran of Vedaranyam, Gopal, Kannan and  the 4 metal idols of  Boo Devi, Seethevi and Mahavishnu and  Veena dhara Sivan  idol while smuggling the idols in a Tata Sumo car TN 55 AA 7337 at Devakottai main road.   The case was charged and pending in the Srivilliputhur court


4. Cr.No./ 4/2012 u/s 41(d) & 102 Cr.Pc @ 457(2), 380(2), 411 r/w 34 IPC


This case was detected on 17.11.2012 at 11.30Hrs at Near Orathanadu Bus Stand, Tanjore Dt and recovered one Metal Amman Idol from the accused.  The two accused 1) Kotteswaran M/a30 S/o Nagaraj 2) Rajasekar M/a 40 S/o Natarajan were arrested and remanded on 17.11.2012. Now this case was charged on 04.02.2013 and  pending trial in the court. 


1.Cr.No. 1/2013 u/s 419d) & 102 Cr.PC


          This case was detected on 16.02.2013 at Kumbakonam Chetty Mandabam Bus Stand and recovered one Metal Amman Idol and perumal Amman Idol  from the accused one Inbaraj and three others.


                            Perumal          Amman   

                                             Perumal                                               Amman



2.Cr.No. 2/2013 u/s 41(d) & 102 Cr.PC


          This case was detected on 17.02.2013 and recovered one metal Valli Idol from the accused Senthil and two others . This case is under investigation.







3.Cr.No. 3/2013 u/s 41(d) & 102 Cr.PC


          This case was detected on 21.02.2013 at Koyambedu Bus Terminal,  Chennai Corporation park and recovered one metal Natarajar idol from the accused Bharthi and based on his confession recovered two temple Kopura Metal  kalasams from the accused Kamaraj from his house at Porur.  On 21.02.2013 4 accused namely 1) Bharathy m/a 32 S/o veeraragavan 2) kamaraj M/a 35 S/o Narayanan 3) basher M/a 47 S/o Syed Mohamad 4) Ramakrishnan were arrested.  This case is under investigation  to decipher the origin of the idol recovered.     


Natarajar               Gopura Kalasam


                                           Natarajar                                      Kalasam