Sunday, 12 June 2016

US returns over 200 artifacts to India

Over 200 artifacts were returned to the government of India on June 6 by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch during a ceremony with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The items were recovered as a result of an investigations conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the work of the United States Attorneys’ Office. Items returned included religious statues, bronzes and terra cotta pieces, some dating back 2,000 years, looted from some of India’s most treasured religious sites. Among the pieces returned is a statue of Saint Manikkavichavakar, a Hindu mystic and poet from the Chola period (circa 850 AD to 1250 AD) stolen from the Sivan Temple in Chennai, India, which is valued at $1.5 million.

Also included in the collection is a bronze sculpture of the Hindu god Ganesh estimated to be 1,000 years old.

The majority of the pieces repatriated in the ceremony were seized during Operation Hidden Idol which centered on Subhash Kapoor, owner of 'Art of the Past Gallery'.

Five have been arrested in the United States for their role in the scheme. The estimated value of the artifacts seized so far in the case exceeds $100 million.

Head of a Bodhisattva

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