The Idol Wing of Crime Investigation Department (CID), Tamil Nadu police, has filed a case with Thanjavur West Police Station that panchaloha idols of king Raja Raja Chola and his wife Logamadevi have gone missing.
The Inspector General of the wing, A G Pon Manickavel, on Friday (2 March) filed the complaint on the idols, which were donated by king “Poigai Naadu Kizhavan Aadhithan Suriyanagiya Thennavan Moovenda Vellan” to king Raja Raja Chola 1,000 years ago when the Thanajvur Brihadisvara Temple was under construction.
The Times of India reported that the value of the king’s idol was Rs 60 crore and that of the queen, Rs 40 crore. The daily quoted Thajavur Superintendent of Police T Senthilkumar as saying that the idols could have been stolen 50 years ago. Investigation to recover the idols has begun.
The theft of the idols came to light only recently after former Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department Minister V V Swaminathan filed a case in the Madras High Court on the two missing idols and sought their recovery. The case was filed in November 2016. The Tamil Nadu Idol Wing took cue from the case filed by the former minister and began investigations.
The idols are now reportedly with the Gautam Sarabhai Foundation in Ahmedabad. Each idol is 74cm in height, going by the reference made to them in the temple’s plaque. A committee set up under former director of the Department of Archaeology, Dr N Nagasamy, visited the museum, but could not get the idols as it was unable to provide conclusive proof.
With the Idol Wing now getting proof of the idols from the temple’s plaque, efforts to get them are likely to be sped up.