The idol of Goddess Umaparameswari Amman (Sivakami Amman), worth about Rs 3.90 crore and stolen from a temple in Ariyalur district, was today produced before a special court trying the cases against US-based international antique dealer Subhash Chandra Kapoor.
Police officials brought the idol to the court amid tight security and produced it before Judge S Baskaran of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court which is the special court for idol theft cases.
The idol was then kept at a 'idols safety centre' here, police said.
The court had last month remanded Kapoor, who was arrested in connection with theft of idols from two ancient temples in Tamil Nadu, to judicial custody.
A person of Indian origin, Kapoor, who owns Nimubs Imports and Exports company based in New York, has been charged with smuggling antique idols belonging to Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Suthamalli village and Bragadeeswarar Temple at Sripurandhan village in Ariyalur district.
After his extradition with the help of Interpol police, Kapoor was arrested by the state police in 2012 in connection with theft of idols from two ancient temples in the state and lodged in the Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai.
Two idol theft cases were pending against him and others in the Judicial Magistrate's Court in Jayamkondam in Ariyalur district.
The cases were transferred to the Special court here for trial in September 2015 by the Madras High Court, allowing a plea by the state government.
During investigations, Kapoor told police that he sold the Umaparameswari idol at Singapore for Rs 3.9 crore and police recovered the idol from there.
IG Pon Manickavel told reporters that eight idols were stolen from the Bragadeeswarar temple and 12 persons arrested in this connection. They told police that they had sold the idols to the antique dealer, he said.
"Of the eight idols stolen from Bragadeeswarar temple, we have recovered Natarajar idol and Sivakami idol..., he said, adding efforts were on to recover the rest.