Antique idols worth Rs 30 lakh seized

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Siliguri, Nov 12 (UNI) Customs officials recovered three antique idols worth Rs 30 lakh, meant to be smuggled into Nepal, from different villages of North Dinajpur district during the past 48 hours.

Additional Commissioner, Customs department (North Bengal and Sikkim), R Mangababu told mediapersons here yesterday that officials of the Preventive and Intelligence Branch of Customs department seized the idols from Fatehpur and Dalingao villages of North Dinajpur district.

''Acting on a tip-off, raids were conducted in these two villages and three idols of the Sun God, Ganesha and Shiva were recovered from certain abandoned locations. They were kept there for the time being and were meant to be smuggled into Nepal later,'' he said.

He informed that the idol of the Sun God, made of black stone, belonged to the 11th century and its market value is estimated at Rs 20 lakh. The other two antique pieces, made of sandstone, are estimated at Rs five lakh each.

No one had been arrested so far, the customs official said, adding investigation was on and a manhunt had been launched to nab the idol-smuggling racket.

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