Chennai Air Cargo Customs foils 19th century idol smuggling bid – The New Indian Express
CHENNAI: Chennai Air Cargo Customs has foiled an attempt to smuggle a 19th century Shivalingam idol with Nagabharanam into the United States. An export shipment containing the idol was intercepted by detectives after a tip-off.
According to the invoice submitted with the export documents (shipping invoice), the idol was purchased from an arts and crafts store in Kumbakonam. The Archeology Survey of India (ASI) certificate of non-antiquity for the idol was not submitted by the exporter.
On visual examination, the idol appeared to be antique with indications of use. The brass idol with nagabharanam is 36 cm (one and a half feet) tall and weighs 4.56 kg. Intelligence gathered confirmed that the idol originated from an individual in Gedilam near Thirunavalur, Kallakurichi district.
As the idol appeared to be antique, ASI’s expert opinion was sought. ASI’s expert team examined the idol and certified the Shivalingam with Nagabharanam as suspected to be datable to the early 1800s. Shivalingam with Nagabharanam along with other items entered for export were seized under the Customs Act 1962, read with the Antiquities Act 1972.