The Tamil Nadu idol wing seized three antique bronze idols from a German national in Auroville, Puducherry. The three bronze idols of Nataraj, Amman and Chandrasekhara could belong to the Chola era and might be worth several crores, said experts.
On November 7, based on specific information, the idol wing team conducted a search of the residence of a German national, Poppo Pingel and his wife, Mona Pingel, and seized antique bronze idols which were concealed in an attic on the first floor of the sprawling house.
After obtaining an order from the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kumbakonam, the idol wing had reached the German nationals’ residence to search the premises. The team then conducted the seizure legally in the presence of Irumbai VAO Raja and village assistant Sukumar.
In a statement, the idol wing said that the German national, when questioned about the antique idols, did not have any papers and refused to answer queries regarding the origin or the source from which he had obtained the idols. The couple also refused to sign the seizure papers.
In the preliminary investigation, it was found that the German national and his wife were planning to set up a museum in their premises by obtaining some more exhibits. Officials are investigating if the German national had smuggled out antique idols from India into Germany and the people from whom he had purchased or sourced the idols.