The US authorities returned 307 antiquities that were stolen by multiple smaller trafficking networks to India, valued at nearly 4 million Dollars after 15-years of investigation. Alvin L. Bragg Jr., the district attorney for Manhattan, stated on Monday that 307 artefacts worth nearly $4 million that were seized from disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor will be returned to the people of India. The item trafficking from Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other nations was assisted by the looter Subhas Kapoor.
Five of the antiques were confiscated in accordance with the Office’s investigation against Nancy Wiener, and one in accordance with an investigation into Nayef Homsi, the statement reads.At a repatriation ceremony held at the Indian Consulate in New York, all the artefacts were returned. US Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) Acting Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge, Tom Lau, also participated.
The press release quoted District Attorney Bragg as saying, “We are happy to restore hundreds of beautiful items to the people of India.”
“A number of intricate and sophisticated trafficking gangs that showed little regard for the cultural or historical importance of these artefacts stole these treasures. Without the cooperation of our law enforcement partners at HSI and the excellent work of our world-class investigators, finding these antiques would not be feasible “he added.
Michael Alfonso, acting special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York, stated, “Today, we are honoured to cooperate with our colleagues from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to bring back 307 stolen works of art and artefacts to India, where they belong. This repatriation is the product of a fifteen-year investigation that spanned the globe. The investigating team sought clues, followed the money, and eventually seized these items to guarantee their return to the Indian people.”
Among the pieces being returned is the Arch Parikara, crafted from marble and valued at approximately USD 85,000.
The Arch Parikara first surfaced in photographs depicting antiquity in a dirty, pre-restoration condition. These photographs, along with dozens of others depicting antiquities lying in the grass or on the ground, were sent to Kapoor by a supplier of illicit in India. The piece was smuggled out of India and into New York in May 2002, the statement reads.