Representational image.Photo by Adaivorukamuthan on Unsplash

In Tamil Nadu, a large-scale raid was conducted on a French national's house this week, where 74 antique idols were uncovered at the house. The idols were stocked in a house in Puducherry. The Idol Wing led by R Sakthivel raided the premises on Thursday.

The raid began at 10 in the morning and went on through the day. The house belonged to Jean Paul Rajarathinam.

Cops raid French national's house recover 74 antique idols

At an ancestral home on Romain Rolland Street, a raid by a 20-member team was conducted yesterday in the presence of house owner Jean Paul Rajarathinam. 60 metal and 14 stone idols were seized by the police, and are expected to be centuries old. The police had received credible information to carry out the raid. Incidentally, the house is located opposite the Department of Art and Culture.

Jean Paul Rajarathinam is the brother of Marie Therese Anandi Vanina a French woman of Indian origin. Her house was raided too in 2016 in Colas Nagar, where the Idol Wing had seized 11 antique bronze idols also valued at crores, local media reported. In August 2019, she was arrested as an accused for illegally exporting antiques from Puducherry to France.

Rajarathinam had told the cops that his grandfather Joseph De Condappa had harboured an interest in collecting antique idols of deities, and he had obtained them from Sambasiva Sthapathi between 1956 and the 1970s. According to the police, Vanina and Rajarathinam were embroiled in a dispute over the idols. The brother and sister had split the idols after the demise of their grandfather and father. 

The investigation into where the idols are from which period and temples they are from is being conducted presently. They will be returned to their original destinations upon investigation.