Stolen Panchaloha idols recovered, three arrested

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Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, Dec 28 (UNI) A special police team has arrested three people, including a senior executive of a public sector undertaking hailing from Andhra Pradesh, in connection with the theft of 15 panchaloha idols from the ancient Sri Agneeswarar temple here and recovered 11 idols, valued at several lakhs of Rupees.

Talking to newspersons here last evening, Inspector General of Police (South Zone) Sanjeev Kumar said the special team came across a case in which one C Murali (33), hailing from Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh, had filed a police complaint that he was attacked by his car driver G Sivakumar and his associates, who attempted to kidnap him for ransom.

The police team, suspecting Murali, interrogated him and it was revealed that Murali, a Chemical Engineer working as a senior executive of a Tuticorin-based PSU, was the mastermind behind the theft on November 27 last. He had been attacked by Sivakumar and his associates Kaliraj and Kannan over sharing the booty, he said.

The police team swung into action and arrested Sivakumar and Kannan and recovered 11 idols from them. Two more idols which was abandoned by them in a secluded place close to the temple were also found. A hunt was on to nab Kaliraj.

It also came to light that Kaliraj, Kannan and Sivakumar were involved in thefts in various temples like stealing of 'kalasam' in Sri Ambalavaanar Temple, Maanur, the Goddess' 'thaali' (mangalsutra) in Sri Muppidathiyamman temple, Azhagiyapaandiapuram, and Sri Sundaraachiyamman Temple, Manappadaiveedu, and the Goddess' crown in Sri Durgai Amman Temple at Vadakku Chezhiyanallur.

UNI

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