New Delhi, Dec. 21: The CBI has seized 24 antique panels and idols belonging to the first century BC and ninth century AD during last night’s raids at the Indira Gandhi international airport and a Delhi godown.
The antiques, worth crores in the international market, were headed for Switzerland.
The investigative agency’s antiquity branch intercepted the consignment of 12 antique panels of terracotta, two pitchers with carvings and antique stone idols of Vishnu and Ganesh from the airport on Friday, said CBI spokesman G. Mohanty.
The seized items have been put in the lockers of the Customs department.
CBI sleuths also carried out a surprise check at a godown in Mahipalpur, south-west Delhi, and recovered 12 statues of deities of Indian origin from the medieval period, Mohanty said.
The CBI held back the name of the godown and its owner because its officials expect to arrest some persons involved in the lucrative racket.
Archaeological Survey of India officials have confirmed that the items recovered were antique.
They will announce the exact period and the dynasty to which these artefacts belong only after an examination, Mohanty said.
At the airport, the consignment was declared to be “automobile parts” to get it past the Customs counter. These were to be exported to someone called Rolf in Zurich, Switzerland.
The CBI said that the seizure has exposed a racket in illegal procurement of antiquities, suspected to be stolen from across the country.