Stolen Indian statue recovered through co-operation via INTERPOL
LYON, France – A stolen Indian statue included among INTERPOL’s most wanted works of art following its theft in September 2009 has been located in New York after it was featured in a magazine advertising its sale by an international auction house.
At the request of the National Central Bureau (NCB) in New Delhi, the stone sculpture of two Asian deities was added to INTERPOL’s Stolen Works of Art database following its theft from the ruins of a temple in Atru in the Province of Rajasthan in Western India.
With the auction house advertising the sale having bases in New York and London, INTERPOL’s NCB in New Delhi contacted NCB London and NCB Washington DC to request their assistance.
On Friday 16 April, the sculpture was seized by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in the port of New York while being prepared for shipment to England. Indian and US authorities are now liaising over the return of the statue.
“While the inclusion of the statue on INTERPOL’s Stolen Works of Art database did not directly lead to its identification, the fact that an object is recorded does help facilitate and speed up investigations by involved countries,” said Karl Heinz Kind, Co-ordinator of INTERPOL’s Stolen Works of Art unit at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon.
“This also underlines the necessity for auction houses and all those dealing in cultural property to regularly check INTERPOL’s Stolen Works of Art database, which is publicly available and free of charge, to ensure that they avoid taking possession of stolen goods,” added Mr Kind.
INTERPOL’s Stolen Works of Art database has been available to the public since August 2009, and now has more than 1,300 individuals currently registered for free access.