Friday, October 22, 2021

Exporter trying to smuggle idol through Bengaluru airport cargo held

Bengaluru: A Delhi-based exporter, who attempted to smuggle to Japan a rare antique stone statue, believed to be that of Lord Mahavishnu, by air cargo at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) was arrested on Wednesday following a year-long investigation.

Customs sleuths at the airport had unearthed the idol at the cargo wing last year.

Sources with the Cargo Intelligence Unit (CIU) of Bengaluru Customs said that the idol with both hands damaged reached the Bengaluru airport’s cargo wing last October among various other items scheduled to be shipped to Japan. Following suspicion, Customs officers cut open the consignment to find the small grey stone concealed inside. Investigators seized the idol, believed to be a few centuries old, and sought a report from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). According to Customs sources, the agency’s committee certified the seized idol as antique and dealing in such antique idols is prohibited in India under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act.

CIU sleuths tracked the sender to Delhi and apprehended him a few days ago in the capital. The Bengaluru Customs obtained a transit warrant for the suspect, whose identity has been withheld due to ongoing probe, and was he brought to Bengaluru. On Wednesday, a magistrate remanded him in judicial custody and sent him to Central Jail, Parappana Agrahara.

22/10/21 Petlee Peter/Times of India

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