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Gang dealing in antiques busted

By Our Staff Reporter


NEW DELHI, APRIL 14. A gang allegedly involved in procuring and selling antique items of immense historic value has been smashed by the New Delhi police. Four persons, including two women, have been arrested and antique idols, coins of yesteryears and other artefacts worth Rs. 3.5 crores have been recovered from them.

According to the police, Constable Prem Nath, deployed in the Anti-Auto Theft Squad of the New Delhi police, received a tip-off about a gang indulging in sale of antiques. On Tuesday, a decoy was sent to Khan Market in New Delhi where the suspects were about to gather looking for a prospective buyer. As the deal was struck, the waiting police team caught the three suspects. They were identified as Mangal Sen (45), a resident of Sadar Bazar, Prakash Kumar (20), a resident of Chanakyapuri, and Santosh Kumari (35), a resident of Shakarpur. At their instance, the police arrested another gang member, 50-year-old Rabia Begum, from Shakarpur in East Delhi.

The police recovered two 500-year-old idols of deities, a 150-year-old antique with a Chinese woman engraved on it, 17 coins from the Kushan era, 10 coins from the Sultan era, 31 coins of the Tughlaq era and 50 coins belonging to the Mughal period from the spot. This apart, they recovered 57 gold coins of the Prithviraj Chauhan era, nine coins with Hanuman engraved on them, yellow metal coins, four Austrian coins (of the year 1780), golden lockets, seven 150-year-old Indian coins and carvings on metal and wood from the house of Rabia Begum. The recovered items could fetch Rs. 3.5 crores in the international market.

Interrogation of the accused revealed that the idols recovered from the three accused arrested from the spot were provided by Rakesh, father of Prakash. Rakesh is said to have links with an inter-State gang involved in stealing idols and other precious items from various temples across the country and selling them in the international market.

Rabia told the police that the coins she was planning to sell were provided by one Amar Singh, a resident of Vikaspuri in West Delhi. She used to stay in contact with him on the mobile phone. The police are now trying to trace Amar Singh and Rakesh Kumar.

Earlier, on April 7, the Crime Branch of the Delhi police had arrested two persons for possessing an "ashtdhatu" idol weighing 8 kg which could have fetched Rs. 2 crores in the international market. The accused had told the police that the main accused used to live in Vikaspuri. The police are trying to find out if those arrested in the two separate cases have links with the same gang.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered at Tughlak Road police station and further investigations are on.

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