Express press service
BENGALURU: An attempt to smuggle an ancient idol of Lord Mahavishnu by a 28-year-old Kumbakonam exporter from Tamil Nadu to Malaysia via Bengaluru airport was recently foiled by customs officials at Kempegowda International Airport. The exporter, a 28-year-old man from Kumbakonam.
According to a senior customs official, the ‘priceless’ 22.5kg idol, likely to be a few hundred years old, was seized some time ago at the airport’s international cargo terminal by the security unit. customs information. He has received specific information on this subject. The item may have been trucked to the freight center.
The smuggler had listed the item as a “new antique bronze idol” to fool customs, the official said.
“To export an ancient piece, one needs to get permission from the department of Archaeological Survey of India. Hence, it was presented as a newly made piece to get customs clearance,” a source said.
The dimensions of the idol are 62.5 cm x28 cm x20 cm. An ASI team arrived at the airport on Friday March 18 and after assessment declared it an “antique” under section 24 of the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act 1972.
Asked about the cost of the piece, the source said, “We can’t put a price on such items. It’s just priceless. But on the black market it would be worth millions of dollars.”
The exporter was registered under Section 11(C) of the Customs Act 1962, which prohibits the sale of antiques outside the country.
Investigations are underway to identify the recipient and others involved in the smuggling incident.