Police bursts inter-state idol theft racket in Odisha's Jajpur district

10:11 AM Mar 04, 2023 | PTI |

The police claimed to have busted an inter-state idol smuggling racket in Odisha’s Jajpur district by arresting four members of the gang.


While three of the arrested members belonged to Uttar Pradesh, one is from Balasore district in Odisha, police said on Friday.

A total of 31 priceless idols stolen from different temples in Jajpur district were recovered from the gang following raids at various locations, Jajpur, Superintendent of Police, Vinit Agrawal said Friday.

Besides, a firearm, ammunition, mobile phones, several equipment and a bike were seized from the possession of the accused persons, he said.

Police said, the miscreants had stolen the idols of Lord Krishna, Nrusingha and Ram, Laxman and Devi Sita from Raghunath Jew temple at Hirapur village under Dasarathpur block of Jajpur district a few days back.


Besides they had taken away the gold and silver ornaments worn by the deities. The theft came to light when the temple priest found the main door of the shrine broken the next day and filed a complaint with the local police.

According to locals, the cost of stolen idols and jewellery worn by the idols would be over Rs 1 crore.

The miscreants had also looted from a temple in Krushnachandrapur village in the district the next day of the Dasarathapur theft.

They have also been involved in Sidhha Baladevjew temple theft in the district from where idols made of ‘Astadhatu’ (eight metals) were stolen in November last year.

The SP said following the thefts of valuable idols from different temples of the district in recent months, a special team was formed to nab the gang members.

”Acting on a tip-off, we conducted raids at various locations and managed to catch four of its members. It is an inter-state idol theft gang. All the idols stolen from the Raghunath Jew temple at Hirapur and Krushna Chandrapur temple were recovered from them. Besides, their involvement in Siddha Baladevjew temple theft has been established,” said Agrawal.

He said four members of the gang were arrested and a hunt is on to nab others involved in the racket. The mastermind of the racket is on the run, the SP added.

Police also suspect that the gang is involved in a number of idol theft cases in other districts of the state.

”We are verifying the involvement of the gang in other district temple theft cases. Our concerted effort is on to nab remaining accused and recover more stolen idols from them,” the SP said.


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