Trichy: Idol wing of Crime Investigation Department (CID) has reportedly recovered an emerald lingam claimed to be worth Rs 500 crore from the bank locker of a man in Thanjavur on Thursday. ADGP K Jayanth Murali, who heads the wing, told reporters in Chennai on Friday that they acted on a tip that antique idols were kept at a house in Thanjavur.
On Thursday, a team of investigating officers led by additional superintendents of police R Rajaram and P Ashok Natarajan searched Langval Homes at 7th cross street, Arulananda Nagar in Thanjavur. They interrogated N S Arun, son of N A Samiyappan, who is aged around 80, at the house and got to learn that Arun’s father kept an antique emerald lingam in a bank locker in Thanjavur, and thereafter handed it over to the police for investigation.
However, Arun claimed to be ignorant as to how and from where his father got the antique piece. The ADGP said gemologists have valued the idol to be worth at Rs 500 crore. “We have verified with custodians like Dharmapuram Adheenam who have confirmed it to be original. We have to do scientific analysis and identify the temple to which it belongs,” the ADGP said.
Based on a report from inspector of police Murugesan, a case has been registered. Whereas, co-founder of India Pride project, S Vijay Kumar, called the Rs 500 crore estimation a myth. “The theft of emerald lingams from temples and mutts in south India has been going on since the late 80,” he said.
Meanwhile, police is investigating whether the lingam was the one that went missing from a Shiva temple at Thirukuvalai in Nagappattinam district in 2016. As per senior officer, Samiyappan is cooperating with the probe and they are inquiring about his background.
The lingam, which weighs around 530 grams and measured 8 cm in height, is likely to be produced in a Kumbakonam court on Saturday.