Theni: Investigation into the theft of 28 ancient idols, dating to between the 15th and 17th centuries, over the last two years from two temples in this district has revealed that many of them were sold to buyers in Singapore, Malaysia and Germany, police said on Thursday.
Twelve of these idols have since been recovered, they said.
Nineteen idols had been stolen from the Rajendra Sholeeswarar temple in Periyakulam and nine from Meenakshi Sundareswaram temple at Periyakulam by an eight member gang, including a priest, they said, adding they also operated in other parts of the state, including Chennai, they said.
Police said investigations by CB-CID had led them to the house of the priest, from where a large quantity of silver articles and gold ornaments and currency notes were recovered.
The role of another priest was being probed, they said.
Police said it was baffling how Hindu and Religious and Charitable Endowment officials had not taken an inventory during the period when the theft took place and were ascertaining if they had any role in the thefts.