Ministry of Finance

Kolkata Customs (Preventive) Commissionerate seize 25 antiques idols valued at Rs 35.3 crore

Kolkata, 26th August, 2020

The world today is crippled by the throes of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and the nations worldwide are collaborating and innovating to facilitate trans-border movement of goods and international trade for maintaining essential supply chains and for the welfare of humanity. Despite such positive endeavors to deal with this international emergency, some miscreants are using this Pandemic as an opportunity to execute their smuggling pursuits and unlawful operations.

The ‘COVID Warriors’ of Government of India are relentlessly working not only to facilitate legitimate international trade but also to prevent smuggling activities. The alert and vigilant officers of Commissionerate of Customs (Preventive), West Bengal developed and executed a well-planned operation to prevent smuggling of Indian Cultural Heritage through unauthorized routes and channels.

On the night of 23rd August 2020, the Commissionerate of Customs (Preventive), West Bengal, seized 25 Antiques at South Dinajpur District of West Bengal which were being taken to Bangladesh, through Kaliyaganj border concealed in a Truck carrying Paddy. These 25 seized artefacts are a cultural heritage of India and comprise of 7 Stone Idols of Goddess Parvati, Manasha Devi, Lord Vishnu and Lord Surya, 7 Metallic artefacts made of Bronze and Octo Alloy (Ashtadhatu) used for casting metallic idols in Hindu and Jain Temples and 11 Terracotta idols, all Antiques ranging from 9th Century AD to 16th Century AD.

The experts from Akshaya Kumar Maitreya Heritage Museum under University of North Bengal, Siliguri, have confirmed that the idols are antiques and have collectively valued them at approximately Rs. 35.3 crore. Apparently, it is biggest seizure of Antiques in recent times.

The officers of the Commissionerate of Customs (Preventive), West Bengal had earlier also seized 7 Antique Idols having antique value of Rs. 11 crore in January 2020. In an effort to prevent smuggling of contrabands, officers of Customs are keeping surveillance on the suspicious activities. Following are the details of the recovered artefacts:

STONE IDOLS
Sr. No. Description of the Idol Period  Tentative Value Photographs
1. Hindu Deity Gauri, length 50 Inches and breadth 25 Inches, having chakra, mace, kalasha & flower with Ganesh & Kartikeya as consorts, standing on full blown lotus in Sampadastanka Mudra.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All belong to C. 11th Century A.D.

 

Rs. 5 Crores (Five Crores) Annexure-1
2. Hindu Deity Manasha, measuring length 27 Inches and breadth 17.5 Inches, in Sukhasana holding a snake in left hand with Jarutkara, her husband on the right and Vasuki, the king of Snakes on the left. Adorned with Chandrahara and Mukuta Surrounded by Sheshnaga with his five heads. Rs. 4 Crores (Four Crores). Annexure 2
3. Image of Vishnu, measuring length 38 inches and breadth 18 Inches holding chakra, mace, Shankha and Padama with goddess Laxmi and Saraswati as consorts, in Sampadasthanka Mudra.  Rs. 5 Crores (Five Crores). Annexure-  3
4.

 

The second image of Vishnu, measuring length 28 inches and breadth 14.5 Inches. The image is intact having chakra, mace,  Shankha and Padmawith Goddess Laxmi and Saraswati as consorts in Sampadasthanka Mudra.  Rs. 4 Crores (Four Crores).

 

Annexure 2
5. The third Vishnu, measuring length 22.5 inches and breadth 11.5 Inches holding chakra, mace and Padama with Laxmi and Saraswati as consorts, standing on Pancharatha pedestal in Sampadasthanka Mudra. Left hand of the image is damaged. Rs. 3 Crores(Three Crores). Annexure 2
6. The fourth idol of Vishnu, measuring length 21.5 inches and breadth 13.5 Inches is holding chakra, mace, Shankha and Padama with Laxmi and Saraswati as consorts. The Vishnu image is intact and standing in Sampadasthanka Mudra. Rs. 4 Crores (Four Crores). Annexure 2
7.

 

The idol of Hindu Deity Surya, measuring length 23.5 inches and breadth 16 Inches is unique having four hands holding lotus in upper two hands and blessing with lower hands. Having Dandi and Pingala standing on the left and right of the deity respectively. The Surya image is standing on an asana with floral pattern in Sampadasthanka Mudra. Belongs to C. 9th Century A.D. Rs. 5 Crores (Five Crores). Annexure 2
METALLIC ARTEFACTS
Sr. No. Description of the Idol Period Tentative Value
8. Dancing girl made of Bronze or Octo Alloy, measuring length 21 inches and breadth 6.5 Inches appears to be an Afsara in tribhanga position. It belongs to C. 12th Century A.D. Rs. 1 Crores (One Crores). Annexure 4-
9. Couple on a camel, beautifully carved out on thick Brass plate, measuring length 9 inches and breadth 9 Inches. The lady is wearing Rajasthani attire with Veil on head and the man is wearing traditional turban. The camel is also fully decorated.  Silver colour is also used to highlight some patterns. It seems that there was a bridle in his hand but it is missing. Approximately 300 years old Rs. 50 Lakhs (Fifty Lakhs). Annexure 4-
10. Image of Hindu deity Ganapati, carved out of a single metallic bar measuring length 1.3 inches and breadth 0.75 Inches sitting in Asana accompanied by his vahana Mushaka.  

 

 

 

 

All belong to C. 12th Century A.D.

Rs. 10 Lakhs (Ten Lakhs). Annexure 5
11. Image of Hindu deity Krishna, carved out of a single metallic bar measuring length 2 inches and breadth 0.75 Inches. Standing on a circular pedestal, he is playing flute.  Rs. 10 Lakhs (Ten Lakhs). Annexure 5
12 & 13 Two Images of Hindu deity Durga on a lion, carved out of a single metallic bar measuring length 1.5 inches and breadth 0.75 Inches, having eight hands full of Astras and Shastras.  Rs. 10 Lakhs (Ten Lakhs) each collectively Rs. 20 lakhs. Annexure 5
TERRACOTTA IDOLS
Sr. No. Description of the Idol Period Value
14. Image of Dashanana Ravana from Ramayana, having 10 heads and holding a sword, measuring length 22.5 inches and breadth 14 Inches. Standing on a rectangular pedestal.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Approximately 300 years old

Rs. 50 Lakhs (Fifty Lakhs). Annexure 6
15 to 18 Terracotta Soldiers, four (04) in numbers, all having big moustaches, warrior cloths and turban on head and Dhal and Khadaga (Sword) in their hands. four Terracotta soldiers collectively Rs 30 Lakhs

 

Annexure 6
19. Image of Hindu Deity Ganesha, measuring length 19.5 inches and breadth 15 Inches. The image has been carved out of a terracotta plate in which the deity is standing in Kamalasana with eight hands filled with weapons. The artefact is rare and unique as the deity is wearing Mukuta and other jewelries and every pattern is explicit. As a unique and rare artifact, the tentative antique value is given Rs. 02 Crores (Two Crores). Annexure 7
20 to 22 Three Terracotta plaques, all in sitting position and having carved out of a brick. Three plaques  Rs. 25 Lakhs collectively. Annexure 7
23. Sitting Images of Shiva and Parvati on their wahana Nandi(Ox) and Lion respectively, measuring length 16 inches and breadth 13.5 Inches. The image has been carved out of a terracotta plate in which the deities are shown in a moving position. Both Shiva & Parvati are having four hands with their respective astras.  Rs. 25 Lakhs (Twenty-five Lakhs). Annexure 7
24. A female idol, broken into two pieces, measuring length 13 inches and breadth 6.5 Inches. Rs. 05 Lakhs (Five Lakhs). Annexure 6
25.

 

A female idol, broken into two pieces, measuring length 13 inches and breadth 5.5 Inches.  Rs. 05 Lakhs (Five Lakhs). Annexure 6
Total 35.3 Cr

Release ID: 1648771

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