The DRI had on February 7 arrested Nanda, an Indian-American businessman, in connection with smuggling of antiques illegally from India to US.
Mumbai: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) will approach its counterparts in the United States (US) seeking details on the role of a Hong Kong national in connection with the antiques and artefacts seizure case involving arrested smuggler Vijay Nanda. The agency has identified a Hong Kong national who is suspected to have bought several antiques from Nanda. The DRI had on February 7 arrested Nanda, an Indian-American businessman, in connection with smuggling of antiques illegally from India to US.
Nanda had allegedly stolen several antiques from temples in south and east India and had forged their certificates — issued by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) — in a bid to smuggle them abroad.
The DRI officials received a critical input that a shipment loaded with Indian antiques had been sent from the US to Hong Kong. Upon verification, DRI officials have got the name of the accused person.
“We need more details of the accused and his activities in US and the details of shipped cargo. The information will also help us know how many antiques has Nanda sent to US, which were later smuggled out of that country,” said a senior DRI officer.
The DRI officials have also been given a report which states that the idols seized from the residence and Byculla-based warehouse of Nanda in February are antiques.
A search at Nanda’s residence led to the discovery of various figurines and stone sculptures including ‘terracotta figurines’ from 1st Century AD and bronze figurines of ‘Mahishasura Mardhini’ and ‘Ganesha’. From his Byculla warehouse, the DRI had seized six large stone sculptures that were stored in crates.
After forging the documents of the stolen antiques and artefacts, Nanda would allegedly smuggle them out by concealing them in furniture or handicrafts/readymade garment consignments. He would further arrange auctions and sale in the US and Hong Kong to private collections and museums, sources said.
Nanda had arrived in India a few days before his arrest on February 7, allegedly to make arrangements to smuggle the stored statues.