Tamil Nadu: Plea Seeking Return Of 36 Ancient Idols And Artefacts From Gujarat Museum Filed In Madras HC

Madras High Court (Milei Vincel/Twitter)

A writ petition has been filed by an advocate famously known as ‘Elephant’ G Rajendran in the Madras High Court directing Idol Wing of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to take possession of 36 idols, three bronze lamps and eight other artefacts from a museum run by the Sarabhai Foundation at Ahmedabad in Gujarat, reports The Hindu.

The petition is expected to be listed for admission before a Division Bench of Justices R Mahadevan and P D Audikesavalu on Thursday ( October 11). The family of Vikram Sarabhai, the widely regarded father of India’s space program, runs the foundation.

His 94-year-old sister Gira Sarabhai had approached the court blaming the Idol Wing CID sleuths for having used force to take away two symbols from the gallery based on a wrong claim that they were the old idols of Raja Raja Chola and queen Nambiratiyar Logamatheviyar of Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur.


Ms Sarabhai had battled saying that the foundation was in possession of the two icons since 1942 and they were not the ones that were allegedly stolen from Thanjavur in the late 1960s.

Expressing that the two idols were really owned by S Gopalachari, former Diwan of the State of Travancore, she said on 16 August 1940, Gautam Sarabhai, sibling of Vikram Sarabhai, went into a deal concurrent with the then Advocate General of State of Madras S. Gopal Swaminathan and obtained the 36 idols (including the two under contention), three brass lamps and eight stone articles.

In any case, asserting that there was no Advocate General by the name of Gopal Swaminathan in 1940, the petitioner said that the idols and ancient artefacts in possession of the foundation seemed to have been those that were stolen from different temples in the State.

Accordingly, it was essential to restore them to the individual temples, he added.

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