US customs officials recover idol looted from Indian temple

US customs officials have recovered a bronze religious statue from the 11th or 12th century that they say was looted from a temple in India.

The New York office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said today that an anonymous collector voluntarily surrendered the idol.

It says the 2 1/2-foot idol was looted from a temple in Tamil Nadu at the southern tip of India. It will be returned to India.

Customs agents say the collector bought the object in 2006 and was given false provenance papers.

ICE says the bronze statue would sell for as much as USD 1 million if legitimately offered on the market.

Its recovery is part of a three-year investigation into former New York-based art dealer Subhash Kapoor. Kapoor is awaiting trial in India on looting charges.