In 2012, a major federal investigation began in the US to return all the stolen artefacts to India. Till date, six people have been arrested, and police have recovered artefacts worth $100 million from them. 15 American museums will return the stolen artefacts to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The investigation started when federal gumshoes received a tip-off about seven suspiciously heavy crates being shipped off to the United States also known as ‘marble garden table sets.’
The returning of antique began on Monday in a repatriation ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The US government returned about 200 artefacts that got stolen from India.
Commenting on this occasion, Loretta Lynch, US Attorney General, said, “The US has alway been known to ensure that no nation is to be robbed of its objects that form its identity, tradition and inspire its people.”
Adding further, “We are hopeful that this repatriation will serve as a sign of our great respect for Indian culture and it will undoubtedly strong the ties between the nation.”
In this 200 return artefacts were statues, bronzes and terra cotta pieces which got looted from some of India’s biggest temple. Some of the terra cotta pieces dated to more than 2,000-year-old. Among the returned items were an 11th century bronze of Ganesh and a statue of Saint Manikkavichavakar stolen from Shivan Temple, Chennai is valued at $1.5 million.
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, India addressed the occasion by saying, “We are very grateful to President Barack Obama and his administration for returning India’s stolen cultural heritage. For some people, this artefact may be measured in monetary terms but for us, it’s part of our culture and heritage. People around the globe are attracted to India for its ancient civilization and these artefacts are part of that.”
Subhash Kapoor the antiquities crook also known as Indian Jones by US media is accused of smuggling the statues in the United States. For the past decade, he allegedly accepted shipments of stolen Indian antiquities in the fake packed figures. He got arrested in 2011 at Frankfurt Airport, Germany and in July 2012 he was extradited to India to face criminal charges.
To retrieve this priceless Indian artefacts US investigator worked with the Indian government, Interpol, The Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and Manhattan’s district attorney office.
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