The police have given notice to the owner of the house Ramesh Banthia to respond within one week with full details regarding the idols or else face arrest.
Acting on a tip-off that idols were being stored at a home in Tiruvanmayur and would be shipped to some unknown destination, a police officer posing as antique dealer approached middlemen Surendra.
Surendra led the police officer (decoy antique collector) to the home where the idols were stored but when he came to know that the antique collector was a police officer, he fled, and the police is now searching for him.
Fifteen valuable idols of Amman, Devi, Shiva, Parvathy, Nandi, Buddha, Small Nataraja, Big Nataraja, Ram, Lakshman, Sita, Hanuman, horse, Narthana Vinayagar and a Nataraja idol with the plinth in the right leg folded.
Police officers told IANS: “We have information that Surendra was acting as the middleman between antique sellers and buyers in the international market.”
The owner of the house at Tiruvanmayur from where 15 idols were seized admitted to the police that he did not possess any license from the ASI nor does he have any documents for the idols.
With the support of ASI, police are trying to determine the age of the idols using carbon dating. Police are also trying to find out the temples from where idols were stolen.