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Customs officials seize 25 antiques worth Rs 35.3 crore in north Bengal

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 27-08-2020 HT Correspondent

In what is called the biggest seizure of antiques in recent times, customs officials seized 25 idols worth more than Rs 35 crore from a district along the Indo-Bangla border in north Bengal on August 23.

Also read: Delhi businessman arrested by Mumbai customs for evading duty

The antiques belong to the period between 9th century AD and 16th century AD and were being smuggled to Bangladesh in a truck.

There were seven stone idols of goddess Parvati, Manasha Devi, Lord Vishnu and Lord Surya, seven metallic artefacts made of bronze and octo-alloy used for casting metallic idols in Hindu and Jain temples, besides 11 terracotta idols.

The oldest of them is an idol of Hindu deity Surya measuring 23.5 inches. It belongs to 9th century and is worth Rs 5 crore in the international market.

Acting on a tip-off, officials of the Commissionerate of Customs (preventive) in West Bengal intercepted a truck at South Dinjapur on Sunday night. The antiques were concealed in the paddy loaded in the truck.

The antique were checked by experts from the Akshaya Kumar Maitreya Heritage Museum under the North Bengal University in Siliguri who evaluated them to be worth Rs 35.3 crore in the international market. It is not known from where the idols were stolen.

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