On the occasion of the 73rd Independence Day, two ancient artefacts stolen from India many years ago were repatriated by a joint US-UK investigation team. As part of the celebrations at the Indian High Commission in the UK on Thursday, the two artefacts were handed over to the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Ruchi Ghanashyam.
The repatriated artefacts are a limestone carved relief sculpture, originating from Andhra Pradesh and estimated to be dated between 1st Century BC and 1st Century AD, and a "Navaneetha Krishna" bronze sculpture, originating from Tamil Nadu and dated around 17th Century AD.
The two artefacts are linked to one of the most prolific art smugglers in the world, Subhash Kapoor, who was recently charged in New York as part of a US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operation.
According to reports, an unnamed individual in the UK, who was in possession of the items, came forward to the HSI wanting to surrender the artefacts.
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"The limestone carved relief is estimated to be about 2,000 years old and the Krishna bronze statue is estimated to be about 300 years old. We cannot put a value for these artefacts; these items are indeed priceless," said Ms Ghanashyam.
"The return of these artefacts to India is a warm and friendly gesture by the UK and US agencies," she added.
The artefacts will now be handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which will conduct examinations to determine the exact period and origin of the pieces.