India, like many countries has suffered heavily, both in the past & in modern times, from looting of its ancient heritage for profit by art dealers, who sell it on to private collections. In recent years however, they have started to make more efforts to put a stop to this trade – culminating in the arrest of dealer Subhash Chandra Kapoor in Germany & his subsequent extradition to India to face charges. Kapoor is accused of smuggling eighteen 18 temple idols from Tamil Nadu.
Intriguingly, the article refers to an artefact in the British Museum – that was returned to India, following a legal case. It does not elaborate on how this was possible however, as it appears that such actions would be in conflict with the anti-deaccessioning terms in the British Museum act, unless there are other relevant points to the case that have not been mentioned.
CHENNAI, July 15, 2012
The murky trail of stolen antiquities
When antique dealer Subhash Chandra Kapoor, 61, arrested in Germany and extradited to India for his alleged role in spiriting away 18 temple idols from Tamil Nadu, was produced before the Ariyalur court on Saturday, it marked the second most sensational development of its kind in the country. It also pointed once again to the inscrutable ways of the idol-smugglers and their ruthlessly creative potential.
The trail of the biggest such racket revealed so far was traced back to Jaipur. In July 2003, after a year-long surveillance, the police arrested Vaman Narayan Ghiya, the owner of a handicrafts shop in the Rajastan capital. His shop was only a front; in reality it was a hub of illicit trading in antiquities.
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