DRI seizes export consignment of antique smugglers in Delhi

New Delhi: In an endeavor to protect the cultural heritage of the country, the Directorate of Revenue intelligence (DRI) on Monday seized an export consignment of the antique smugglers in Delhi.
The DRI seized the consignment at Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Patparganj and suspect sculpture in the export consignment has been referred to Archeological Survey of India (ASI) expert committee for determining its antiquity.
Earlier on November 9, the department nabbed one Nityanand Ompal from Sarai Kale Khan Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) after he arrived from Rajasthan.
One antique Ganesh sculpture and two antique head sculptures were recovered from his possession, said the DRI.
Nityanand Ompal, a Delhi resident, involved in smuggling of antiques was on DRI radar for quite some time.
Intelligence was diligently gathered about the syndicate spanning multiple states and about key associates who assisted in stealing antique sculptures from the ruins of temples located in Gwalior, Shivpuri and Ashok Nagar districts of Madhya Pradesh.
While Ompal was nabbed by DRI in Delhi while he dis-embarked in Delhi from MP, searches were also conducted at the premises of some of his associates in Gwalior and Shivpuri districts of Madhya Pradesh for recovery of some more antique sculptures stolen by the syndicate. These searches resulted in recovery of one antique Brahma sculpture, sculpture of one panel and few more antique head sculptures.
When contacted, it was informed by the ASI that the sculptures belong to 8th century AD and appear to have been stolen from Archaeological sites of Central India. These stone sculptures are the ancient heritage of the country and are worth crores of rupees in the illegal international market. All of these sculptures were procured by Nityanand Ompal for smuggling them out of the country through his contacts, who had foreign clients for such sculptures. Investigations are still underway. (ANI)