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Antiquity Theft: Police seizes a House full of Treasure Trove in Tamil Nadu

Over 200 artifacts, including 49 bronzes, 71 stone carvings and 96 rare paintings were seized during the raid.

Antiquity theft (Representational Image). Image source: mosaicrooms.org
  • The raid led to the seizure of over 200 artifacts, including 49 bronzes, 71 stone carvings and 96 rare paintings
  • The raid lasted for three days and resulted in finding a treasure trove of artifacts
  • 101 antiquities were stolen between 2000 and 2016 from 3,650 protected historical monuments around the country

CHENNAI: After the infamous arrest of Subhash Kapoor at Frankfurt airport in 2011, the people of India have become aware of how their ancient treasures and idols are looted and sold abroad. A tip-off from an informant about “some unusual activities” going on at Govindaraj Deenadayalan’s house, led to the seizure of over 200 artifacts, including 49 bronzes, 71 stone carvings and 96 rare paintings.

Deenadayalan’s residence in Alwarpet, Chennai and a rented godown were raided by the sleuths of the Idol Wing CID of the Tamil Nadu Police’s Economic Offences Wing on the basis of information that hoards of antique artifacts were stored there with no valid documents. The raid lasted for three days from May 31 and resulted in finding a treasure trove of artifacts, said the Frontline.in report.

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Two of the idols were 1,000 to 1,200 years old, and belong to the Chola and Hoysala dynasties. According to the Frontline report, Pon. Manickavel, the IG who is personally investigating the case, said that they never expected to find so many antiques from a private dealer.

The 11th-12th century bronze Chola idol of Saint Manikkavachakar that was recovered. Image Source: The Hindu

The police struck at a time when Deenadayalan was desperate as he could not transport his idols to buyers in Mumbai on time. Time is required to collect the documentary evidence to prove that the artifacts belonged to a particular temple or place. When the investigation transcends the country’s borders, it is hard to make the case as the law in India demands a case to be charge-sheeted in 60 days.

Many operators have escaped the law since the prosecutors could not prove complicity in the crime as the stolen goods could not be recovered from abroad. Art lovers also point out that the restitution of statues need evidence that the stolen artifacts belong to a particular temple.

Govindaraj Deenadayalan (left), the antiquities discovered from his house (right). Image Source: Indian Express

“For instance, priceless antique pieces have been stolen from various temples across Tamil Nadu. But, sadly, none of these stolen properties from our temples has any documentary proof of ownership and proof of provenance, though the HR and CE Department claims that it has started collecting and documenting the same now” says Pon. Manickavel to Frontline.

Determined to plug these loopholes, the IG has decided to be the complainant. The Frontline report adds that Pon. Manickavel is confident of breaking the backbone of this well-organised international black market in antique idols from temples in Tamil Nadu.

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With 200 stolen antiquities returning to India, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the US, it is to be wondered how much more of our heritage lies outside our country, said a DNA report.

According to the ministry of culture records, 101 antiquities were stolen between 2000 and 2016 from 3,650 protected historical monuments around the country, states a dnaIndia report. When the unprotected monuments across the country are considered, there are 4,115 cases of ‘cultural property’ stolen in 2010-2014 with 3,000 of them unsolved. The dnaIndia report also suggests that over 10,000 objects have been stolen in the past 10 years.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14


  • Karthik

    Chennai is part of Tamil Nadu, Not sure why the headline of the article has Kerala

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New Indian Traffic Rules 2019 – All That You Need to Know

Here's everything you need to know about the traffic rules in India, 2019

Traffic rules
Under the new traffic rules, penalties for various offences while driving has increased.

Under the new traffic rules, fines for offenses such as driving without driving license or bike insurance policy, drunk driving, unauthorized use of vehicles and disobeying traffic laws have been dramatically increased. The stricter penalties have brought forth a range of reactions and opinions from the Media.

On one hand, the media is all about how road accidents and mishaps will reduce with the implementation of these laws. However, they are also on a diabolical situation on the enforcement of the strict punishments for road traffic violations. Let’s look at some of these penalties under the new Indian traffic rules 2019:

1. Driving Without License Penalty

Gone are the days when you could have just slipped a Rs 100 note to the traffic police for not driving without a license. Jumping a red light or talking on a mobile phone while driving could now set you back by a few thousand rupees. With the new traffic rules passed by Lok Sabha, you’ll be charged Rs 5000, if you are found steering without your driving license. By increasing the fine and penalties multiple, this new Act broadly seeks to bring in a standard shift in the driving practices of the vehicle owners in the country.

2.  Drink and Drive Penalty

The government of India brought changes in the Motor Vehicle Act and introduced a stiffer penalty on driving under the influence of alcohol. According to the new traffic rules, the drunk driving penalty has been increased from Rs 2000 to Rs 10,000 or 6 months of imprisonment for the first offense. If you are caught drunk driving for the second time, then you’ll either be charged Rs 15,000, or you’ll have to go to jail for two years.

3. Overloading of Two-Wheelers Penalty

Road accidents are majorly caused due to over speeding and overloading. You must have seen people tripling on a motorbike before. To prevent them from doing so, Parliament imposed rigid fines for traffic rules violation, people doing so will be charged with Rs 1000 for each extra passenger. Previously, there was no such penalty abided by the government. Also, if you are overloading your vehicle with goods and luggage, then you’ll be charged a penalty of Rs 20000 along with Rs 2000 for every extra ton. Previously this penalty was Rs 2000 along with Rs 1000 for every additional ton.

traffic rules
According to the new traffic rules, the drunk driving penalty has been increased from Rs 2000 to Rs 10,000 or 6 months of imprisonment for the first offense. Pixabay

4. Riding Without Helmet Penalty

Lately, people started taking a helmet as just another two-wheeler accessory. It is understood that riding a motorcycle gives riders a sense of freedom on the open road. However, there are serious dangers involved in riding without a helmet. The new traffic rules make sure that the offenders are taught a lesson and make sure that their mistake is corrected right on the spot. So, if you are caught sans helmet at police checkpoints, you will attract Rs 1,000 penalty and 3-month suspension of license. Along with that you will be directed to vendors selling helmets to get one immediately.

Also Read- India Must Embrace Market Prices in Generating Economic and Financial Value

5. Driving Without Insurance

In India, vehicle insurance is mandatory by law. It is a legal obligation for vehicle owners to have basic vehicle insurance coverage. A vehicle insurance policy, be it a car or a bike policy, also serves as a financial safety net that safeguards the vehicle owner against monetary loss due to accident or theft. If you are found without having your car or bike insurance policy, then you’ll be charged a penalty of Rs. 2000 or imprisonment up to 3 months or both for the first offense. For the second offence you’ll be charged a fine of Rs. 4000 or imprisonment up to 3 months or both. Stricter penalties will be charged if you are not wearing you a helmet along with not carrying your bike insurance policy.