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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hands over the 12th century Buddha statue, brought back from UK by DRI, to Union Minister of State (I/C) of Culture Prahlad Singh, in New Delhi (PTI)
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hands over the 12th century Buddha statue, brought back from UK by DRI, to Union Minister of State (I/C) of Culture Prahlad Singh, in New Delhi (PTI)

London police returns stolen 12th century Buddha statue

The 12th Century AD Bronze image of Buddha seated in the Bhumipasara mudra was amongst the 19 bronze statues stolen from the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Nalanda site museum in August 1961

NEW DELHI : Almost a month after a 12th century was Buddha statue stolen from the ASI Museum at Nalanda in 1961 was returned to the Indian High Commission by the London Met. Police, Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman handed over the statue, on Tuesday.

“The 12th Century AD Bronze image of Buddha seated in the Bhumipasara mudra was amongst the 19 bronze statues stolen from the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Nalanda site museum in August 1961. After a gap of nearly 57 years, in early 2018, the image was spotted by Art enthusiasts at an auction organised by a London based dealer," the Centre said in a statement.

On receipt of the information, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) through its attaché posted in High Commission of India, London, UK took up the matter with the ASI, UK Customs and London Metropolitan Police. The ASI confirmed the findings and provided documentary evidence including an FIR which was filed in 1961.

“The Police investigations revealed that the statue changed hands several times before eventually being consigned to a London dealer for sale. Once it was confirmed that the Buddha statue was the same as that stolen from India, both the dealer and the consignor co-operated with the police and decided to return the sculpture to India," the Centre added.

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