Thursday 19 July 2012

News Updates on the Kapoor Case

My earlier stories on the Kapoor case attrracted quite a lot of interest, so I thought some readers might find useful a brief summary of some of the subsequent news items. Recapping, Kapoor - who was born in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh in 1949 - is alleged to have been involved in a number of cases of smuggling of antique sculptures from India, especially from temples in Tamil Nadu. There it is alleged he and an associate Sanjeevi Asokan, described in the Indian press as "a notorious idol thief", hired some men (Rathinam and Kaliyaperumal) to steal ancient idols from historic temples. The gang is accused of plundering idols dating back to the 11th century from Arulmigu Sundareswarar and Varadaraja Perumal temples in Ariyalur district. Investigators allege that Kapoor also smuggled Buddhist artefacts out of Afghanistan and various antiques from Pakistan. Kapoor, a US citizen set up an antique gallery in New York and also operated a website,, and a company, Nimbus Import and Export Inc, to sell antiques. The website was shut down after Tamil Nadu police alerted US authorities through the Interpol about the illegal sale of idols stolen from India through the site. Kapoor travelled to Germany on business, apparently unaware that he was on an Interpol 'wanted persons' list. He was arrested and extradited last week to India. Here's some more news:

July 15th 2012 The Kapoor Case Continues... It Surfaced Down Under blog.

"The latest new reports (here and here) regarding the extradition and trial of one Mr. Subash Kapoor (see photo at left) attest that prosecution has now begun. He is currently on trial in an Ariyalur courtroom for the specific charge of helping to illegally export 18 idols from Tamil Nadu, but he will apparently be interrogated for details regarding many other cases.  [...]  Now the art, museum, and illicit antiquities research communities at large can only wait to see how the trial(s) unfold and what kind of justice is served. In this case at least, all roads eventually led to New York..."

July 16, 2012  Money trail led investigators to idol smuggler
CHENNAI: Investigators followed the money trail from the sale of ancient idols stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu's Ariyalur district to track down antique dealer Subhash Chandra Kapoor, who was extradited from Germany on Saturday in connection with the theft and smuggling of dozens of artefacts from the state [...].

July 16, 2012 Cops face tough task to bring back stolen idols 
CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu police have long and arduous tasks ahead before they locate, identify and bring back temple antiques stolen and exported from India [...].

But from the time the news broke that he was in India, an awful lot of people in the US have been looking up the story on my blog. I imagine that among them are many people who in the past few years have bought stuff from Mr Kapoor's gallery.

July 18, 2012  Judicial custody of antique dealer extended
 The judicial custody of Subhash Chandra Kapoor, international antique dealer and accused in two idol theft cases in Ariyalur district in 2008, was extended till Wednesday. [...] The two cases relate to theft of idols from Brahadeeswara Temple, Sripurandan, 35 km from Ariyalur, in Vikramangalam police limits on March 21, 2008 and the other case relates to the theft of another set of idols, including three panchaloha ones, from Varadarajaperumal Temple, Suthamalli, 22 km from Ariyalur in Udayarpalayam police limits. In the first case, 12 persons were cited as accused and in the second seven [...].

And this a rather sordid footnote. There had previously been a number of stories going back a number of years about the souring of this relationship in the media but I decided not to use them here, I suppose we might have guessed that an ex-lover would somehow be tied to the case. 

July 18, 2012   Ex gave cops info on idol smuggler
CHENNAI: Subhash Chandra Kapoor's former girlfriend, an art dealer in Singapore, gave investigators vital clues that convinced Interpol to issue a notice for the idol smuggler, leading to his arrest in Germany and his extradition to India on July 14. Paramaspry Punusamy, 56, who owns contemporary art gallery Jazmin Asian Arts in the Southeast Asian city-state, approached officers of the CB-CID's idol wing who were on the trail of the New York-based Kapoor, 64, and provided them with a recent photograph of him and tipped them off on his movements [...]. 
Well, for those curious, here is a photo of the vengeful Ms Punusamy in 2007 in New York dressed for the occasion  in a "traditional Indian sari". She's still got some of his antiquities it seems.

1 comment:

Damien Huffer said...

He tried to foist much of the blame for his being a suspect on her after realizing that threatening me wouldn't cause me to disappear.

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