CHENNAI: The Idol Wing Police CID reported on Tuesday that three bronze idols from the Chola era had been taken from a German national's home in Auroville.
Poppo Pingel, an 80-year-old German, and his wife Mona were interrogated about their hidden ownership of old idols that worshippers were meant to maintain in temples. The couple's secret idols were discovered in the attic of their home.
According to information obtained by Idol Wing from a reliable source, a German citizen and his wife were hiding historic artefacts from the Chola era at Irumbai, Kottakarai.
A search operation was scheduled to be carried out by Inspector General of Police R. Dhinakaran and Director General of Police, Idol Wing CID (DGP IWCID), K. Jayanth Murali. The Idol Wing secured a search warrant from the Additional Chief Magistrate of Kumbakonam following reconnaissance surveys and confirmation of the information acquired.
A special Idol Wing police team commanded by Inspector Indira searched Mr. Pingel's home in Yantra Community, Irumbai, Kottakarai, Auroville, and Villupuram district on Monday afternoon. In the attic of the first level of the enormous mansion, three ancient bronze idols of Nataraja, Amman, and Chandrasekhara were discovered. The ancient idols, which experts believe could date back to the Chola era, are said to be worth several crores on the global market.
Despite obtaining a proper warrant, the Idol Wing team encountered opposition from the residents of the house when they started the search.
After overcoming the opposition, the team found nothing at first. Three old idols were hidden in the bedroom attic on the first level of the house as they intensified their search. The German man had no documents and declined to provide information regarding the idols' origin or source when he was questioned about them, the speaker claimed.
DGP, IW CID said in a press release:- "an inquiry is in progress to determine whether he was a German citizen who earlier smuggled antique idols from India to Germany and the persons from whom he obtained or procured the idols."