A 600-year-old Lord Nataraj idol worth over Rs five crore in the international market has been seized from two persons who were allegedly trying to sell it, the Delhi Police today said.
Bhuwan Chand Joshi (54), a resident of Gurgaon, and Pradeep (27) from Jhajhar in Haryana were arrested near Vikas Sadan in south Delhi's Kotla Mubarakpur yesterday on a tip off.
Police recovered the antique statue of Lord Nataraj and a car in which they were moving around to dispose of the idol, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) H G S Dhaliwal said.
The 19-inch statue weighing 15.5 kg is made of ashtadhatu (eight metals) and worth more than Rs five crore as certified by experts of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
It came to light during interrogation that the idol was kept in the residence of Pradeep for several years and he and his family were not aware that its value was over Rs five crore.
"Sometime ago, Joshi visited Pradeep's residence and after noticing the idol told him that it is an antique piece. He lured Pradeep to sell it.
"Pradeep picked up the statue without knowledge of his family members and for the last 15-20 days, they were were trying to sell it to a suitable buyer," Dhaliwal said.
A case under relevant sections of Antiquities and Art Treasurers Act 1972 has been registered.
The idol was sent to the Archeological Survey of India to find out its exact age, Dhaliwal added.