SSB, Customs seize idols worth Rs 35 cr, one arrested

In a special operation, a Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) team along with the Customs department, Siliguri, apprehended a person with two antique statues worth
Rs 35 crore in the international market.

"Based on a tip-off, the SSB and Customs personnel laid a trap on the Bagdogra-Ghoshpukur Road on National Highway 31 at around 11 am on Monday. One Fotu Yadav of Baradi, Katihar district of Bihar, was arrested with two antique statues.The idols were sent to the History Department of the North Bengal University," stated D K Singh of the SSB. "The statues were stolen from Bhagalpur eight years ago," added Singh.

The provisional report of the History Department states that the idols are made of octoalloy (ashtadhatu.) The male idol has a height of 38 cm; width 13 cm and weighs 7.823 kg. The female idol has a height of 37 cm; width 12 cm and weighs 8.882 kg.

"The statues of Ram and Sita are of the 15th or 16th Century and are antique. The worth of the statues should not be less than Rs 35 crores in the international market," stated the report signed by Dr Anita Bagchi, Professor of the History Department of the NBU.

In another incident, a special task force team of the Forest department from Jalpaiguri arrested nine persons in connection with poaching and smuggling from the Barabhisa area of the Bengal-Assam border. Leopard skins and bones were recovered from their possession.

The arrested include one John Ekka who was most wanted by the Forest department for poaching, smuggling of animal parts, gun running and counterfeit currency racket. The arrested also include Kornbal Mushari, BJP Gram Panchayat member of Madhaigaon Gram Panchayat, Kokrajhar, Assam and his son Bunai Mushari. The arrested have links with poaching of rhinos in the Gorumara forests.

"The arrested are being interrogated. We are investigating the matter," stated M R Baloch, CCF, North Bengal.
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