Prime accused in Jain temple idols theft case arrested

Prime accused in Jain temple idols theft case arrested

The prime accused in the Moodbidri Jain temple theft case, Santosh alias Ghanshyam Das, was arrested on Saturday at Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh in a joint operation by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha police. He is being brought to Mangalore.

Moodbidri Jain basadi head Charukeerthi Bhattaraka swami told Deccan Herald that the police officials have informed him (Swami) about the arrest of Das.

The Swami, quoting police officials, said out of the 16 idols stolen from the Basadi, four have been recovered, five have been melted and the remaining were yet to be traced. Out of the four idols recovered, two are made of blue sapphire, one elephant pearl and one made of ruby.

It may be recalled that a total of 16 Jain idols worth crores of rupees, made of gold, pearls, precious stones and diamond, were stolen on the night of July 5 from Siddantha Mandir of Guru Basadi in Moodbidri, locally known as Jain Kashi.

The stolen idols belong to the third century BC. The kings and chieftains accompanied by Jain seers from North India had brought them to Moodbidri and donated it to the Gurupeeta here, when Chandragupta Maurya’s kingdom was facing severe drought. “It is unfortunate that the priced possession have been stolen,” said the seer.

The stolen idols include three Teerthankara statues embedded with sapphire, three statues embedded with emarald, sapphire, and crystal, Gomateshwara statue in sitting posture embedded with pearl, golden mantapa, and idols embedded with ruby.

The wife and father-in-law of the prime accused were arrested in in connection with the theft of antiques, in Odisha on July 16 and both are in judicial custody in Mangalore at present.

The prime accused Das hails from Nayagarh district of Odisha, who managed to flee Bhubaneswar before the police zeroed in on him.

2 idols stolen at basadi

Two ‘panchaloha’ idols were stolen from the Jain basadi at Kotabagi village in Dharwad taluk on Saturday. The incident comes close on the heels of the theft of priceless idols from a Jain shrine at Moodbidri in Dakshina Kannada district.

It is said that miscreants made away with a six-inch idol of Jwalamal and a four-inch idol of Parshwanath, when the shrine had remained unlocked. The incident did not come to light when the basadi was closed for the day on Saturday.

The theft was discovered on Sunday morning, when the family members of the priests opened the doors.

The idols are worth Rs 14,000, according to a complaint filed with the Garaga police.

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