S Vijay Kumar, who is without doubt one of the audio system on the ongoing fifteenth Jaipur Literature Pageant, talks about how his e-book on an notorious antiques’ racket introduced the case into the limelight, with the stolen artefacts now returned to India

Subhash Kapoor, an Indian-American man, ran a stolen antiques’ racket in Manhattan for over 20 years. The infamous idol thief was lastly introduced down by S Vijay Kumar, an artwork and antiquity fanatic who additionally helped law-enforcement officers retrieve a number of stolen treasures.

“Kapoor was arrested in September 2011 in Germany and extradited to India a 12 months later,” says Kumar. The account of this notorious case was documented in Kumar’s e-book, The Idol Thief (Juggernaut), revealed 4 years in the past. The e-book is now out there in Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi and Hindi. “Artwork belongs to its geography; it’s created for a sacred objective,” says Kumar, who is without doubt one of the audio system on the ongoing Jaipur Literature Pageant (JLF).

At the moment awaiting trial in Tamil Nadu, Kapoor owned an vintage store referred to as Artwork of the Previous in Manhattan. “The police seized unsold inventory price Rs 840 crore from his store,” he provides. Kumar’s India Delight Challenge, an organisation he based in 2006, labored onerous to show every of those works had been stolen from the nation.

Seized antiques from Kapoor have been amongst stolen artefacts the US had returned to India late final 12 months. “These antiques have arrived in Delhi and there will likely be a proper session on the authorities stage at hand them over to the unique homeowners,” says Kumar.

India Delight Challenge has a group of 300 folks and lots of different volunteers unfold the world over. “We’re a casual group current on the Web. Our volunteers throughout the globe alert us about stolen antiquities,” he provides.

A member of the shipbroking fraternity, Kumar is a value and administration accountant and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, who started working within the transport trade in Chennai almost 20 years in the past earlier than transferring to Singapore in 2006. His India Delight Challenge, a not-for-profit citizen-run initiative, helps the police in retrieving stolen antiques from all over the world.

Bodhisattva Padmapani case

On a routine day, staffers of the Indian Consulate Common’s workplace in Milan solely have to step out of the constructing to expertise the fabled Italian artwork. Due to this fact, there was a lot elation just lately after they acquired an art work within the type of an uncommon supply. It was a Ninth-century stone statue of Buddha, reported to have been stolen from Bihar on the flip of the brand new millennium. The three-feet-tall idol of Buddha with a lotus in hand belonged to the pre-Pala dynasty interval and was written off by the Bihar police as untraceable.

“The statue surfaced in a French artwork vendor’s catalogue two years in the past,” says Kumar. Quickly, Kumar and his group of newbie artwork sleuths and volunteers of India Delight Challenge raised their stage of motion. “We labored with the London-based Artwork Restoration Worldwide to trace the proprietor of the statue. We discovered that the proprietor was in Milan,” provides the Chennai-born Kumar.

“The proprietor of the statue in Milan had performed a traditional artwork market verify and thought it was a real piece of vintage,” explains Kumar about how the stolen artefact discovered its means into the Italian metropolis well-known for the Leonardo da Vinci portray, The Final Supper. With the assistance of supporters within the central authorities, India Delight Challenge traced the police officer who had initially investigated the case of the stolen statue in Bihar. As soon as the proof of the case arrived in Milan, the Milanese proprietor of the statue determined to relinquish his declare on the title. “The statue was handed over to the Consulate Common of India final week,” says Kumar.

Kumar will likely be presenting the case of the Bihar Bodhisattva Padmapani and people of many extra stolen Indian idols recovered from overseas at JLF on March 11. He says his work is aimed toward elevating consciousness in regards to the lack of the nation’s treasure trove of artwork and antiquities.

In keeping with India Delight Challenge, India has introduced again 300 stolen artefacts prior to now one decade, in comparison with 19 between 1970 and 2012. “One other 1,000 artefacts are slated to return again from the US and different international locations,” says Kumar, whose great-grandfather had a ‘small temple’ in Kolathur village in Vilipuram district of Tamil Nadu.

“In keeping with our estimates, about 10,000 main artworks and antiquities are stolen and smuggled out of India each decade,” says Kumar. Main locations are the US and the UK. “My e-book is about what’s coming again to our nation,” he provides.

Faizal Khan is a freelancer

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