CID officers recovered an idol of Lord Bishnu that worth around Rs 20 lakh from the accused.
Acting on a tip off, the officers conducted a raid in a hideout at Raghunathganj and arrested all five of them. The five persons – Salaudding Ansari, Tausif Jamal, Imazuddin Sheikh, Jamirul Sheikh and Motiur Sheikh - are from different parts of the state.
They gathered in Murshidabad after Ansari had an initial talk with a prospective buyer from abroad and had discussion to finalise the route through which they would have taken the idol out of the country.
The investigating officers said that the owner had lodged a complaint. The stolen idol is of antique value and has engaged experts to ascertain the era from which it belongs.
An officer said that an expert told them after initial examination of the idol that it is of Pal era.
“The accused are having connection with players in the international market and we are sure that they had smuggled such articles earlier as well,” said an officer adding that they will try to restore the articles of antique value which the accused had sold to people in the country.
The CID would contact officers of other investigating agencies in the country after making a list of articles that had been stolen and sold by the members of the racket. All the five persons, who were arrested today, are having past criminal records.
The accused were brought to the headquarters of CID at Bhawani Bhavan for further interrogation.
The investigating officers have shown them photographs of idols of antique value those were stolen earlier to know whether they had any knowledge about those idols.