U.S. Agencies Return 3 Looted Sculptures to India

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At a New York ceremony on Tuesday, officials from Interpol Washington and Homeland Security Investigations returned three looted artifacts worth a total of $1.5 million to the government of India, among them a sandstone statue weighing 350 pounds that had been on Interpol’s list of the Top 10 stolen artworks since it disappeared from a temple in Rajasthan state in 2009. “I deeply appreciate the excellent work” of the U.S. agencies, India’s Consul General Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay said at the ceremony, according to the New York Times.

The two other stolen objects, also from the 11th or 12th century, included a 400-pound sculpture believed to have been taken from the same temple in Rajasthan, and a sculpture in black sandstone portraying the male deity Bodhisattva. The 350-pound piece was said to depict the divinities Vishnu and Lakshmi. According to U.S. officials, in 2009 it was moved from India to Hong Kong, from where it was sold to a Thai dealer, who in turn sold it to a London-based buyer, and shipped to New York City. Agents intercepted the piece when it was being shipped to London from New York.

Meanwhile U.S. authorities are still working to fully account for the trove of looted Indian artifacts sold by Manhattan-based dealer Subhash Kapoor to collectors and institutions around the world, and said to collectively be worth about $100 million.

— Benjamin Sutton (@bhsutton)

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