Tribune News Service
Shimla, January 24
With the recovery of the ancient Lord Raghunath idol, along with four others, the police was now seeking the deportation of the main accused hiding in Nepal.
Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjay Kumar said here today: “With the recovery of the ancient idol of Lord Raghunath and four other idols by the police yesterday, the sensitive case has been solved. We are now seeking the deportation of the main accused, who is hiding in Nepal.”
“Our main focus was to recover the stolen idols as they have a great religious significance and impact on the people of the Kullu valley. We bypassed legal formalities and now we will seek the deportation of the main accused from Nepal as India had no extradition treaty with it,” he said.
There was no extradition treaty between India and Nepal, but being friendly nations, the Himachal Police would now take up the case for the deportation of the main accused identified as Nar Prasad, a resident of Nepal, with the Nepal government and Central agencies in India. Talking to mediapersons here today, the DGP said there were a number of theories about the theft and 12 investigative teams were constituted under the overall supervision of ADGP (Law and Order) Sanjay Kundu.
“Each lead was thoroughly investigated, but it was the evidence of a CCTV and mobile conversations that helped in solving the complicated case,” he said.
During the investigations it was revealed that the main suspect was a Nepalese national, working in Kullu. He had conducted reconnaissance of the temple for four days before committing the theft. He was seen carrying a Hindi newspaper in the CCTV footage which was also recovered from the crime spot. The police traced his mobile phone and it was revealed that he travelled to Haryana between December 9 and 13 and talked to his girlfriend and one more Nepali person.
His last phone activity was traced on December 16 on the Indo-Nepal border and a covert team, headed by Inspector Lokender Negi, was dispatched to Nepal.
The accused changed his SIM number after entering Nepal, but the police traced the new number with the help of EMI number of the mobile phone and after establishing his identity, his movement was traced near Kohalpur in Banke district and he was taken into custody on January 22.
He tried to bluff the police on January 22 by giving a misleading information that he had sold the three idols to a monk at Tatapani near the China border and it was on January 23 that he spoke the truth and the idols of Raghunath, Ganesh and Hanuman were recovered from a place near a check-post at Bajaura, while the two other idols of stone and some silver ornaments were recovered from Beasa Mor, ADGP Kundu said. Kundu said the thief was a professional with a photographic memory and the recovery was made after he marked the location on Google Earth and even drew a sketch of the place where the idols were hidden. The sketch was then sent through whatsapp by the Nepal police. “It was the immediate barricading by the police and sealing of inter-state borders that forced him to get down before the naka. He hid the idols near Bajaura.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh congratulated the state police team and the intelligence agencies for making a breakthrough in the Lord Raghunath idol theft case.
The accused was a habitual offender and was lodged in Kanda jail for three months earlier as well.
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