You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

US probing whether Ganesha museum idol was stolen

Press Trust of India  |  New York 

US authorities are probing the acquisition by a museum in Ohio state of a bronze Ganesha statue which was sold to it by arrested Indian art dealer Subhash Kapoor.

The Toledo Museum of Art said in a statement on its website that last month it was contacted by a representative of the US Justice Department, southern New York region, regarding items purchased from and gifted by Kapoor.

"The Museum will cooperate fully with that agency's ongoing investigation," it said.

Kapoor is currently in custody of Indian authorities for arranging the theft of statues from significant cultural and religious sites across India.

Federal authorities are trying to determine the origins of the Ganesha statue, on display in the Asian Sculpture Gallery that was acquired in 2006 from Kapoor.

The museum's communications director Kelly Garrow told the Blade newspaper that the investigation into the Ganesha statue, which is believed to have been bought for USD 245,000.

The museum said that like many other museums across the country, it had acquired objects from Kapoor in the period from 2001-2010.

The most significant of the eight pieces acquired by the Toledo Museum from Kapoor is the Ganesha figure. After the 2006 Ganesha purchase, Kapoor gifted 56 small terracotta idols. While the purchased Ganesha statue had been on public display, the gifted terracotta items have never been so.

The museum said that in July last year, it received a copy of an Indian police report that includes photographs of 18 metal idols stolen from Sripuranthan village in Tamil Nadu.

One of the images of a Ganesha figure closely resembles the Ganesha purchased by the Museum in 2006 from Kapoor's gallery Art of the Past. The museum has not been asked to turn over the Ganesha statue.

The museum's director Brian Kennedy had also sent a letter to the Indian Consulate in New York requesting assistance in researching the Ganesha's provenance with Indian officials.

The museum said it has not yet received any response from consulate officials.

In February this year, the museum also sent a letter to Indian Amabassador S Jaishankar, seeking his assistance.

"The Museum has not been contacted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement or any other government agency in regards to this object and others the Museum purchased from Art of the Past or was gifted by Kapoor," it added.

The National Gallery of Australia had filed a suit in December against Kapoor in New York state. Kennedy said that such legal action against someone in Kapoor's straits was unlikely to be productive, according to the Blade report.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, March 06 2014. 22:03 IST