USD 4 Million worth 307 stolen antiquities returned by US to India

20 October, 2022 | Pranay Lad

US Top News

The US authorities returned 307 antiquities that were stolen by multiple smaller trafficking networks to India, valued at nearly $4 mn, according to a press statement.

Alvin L. Bragg Jr., the district attorney for Manhattan, stated on Monday that 307 artefacts worth nearly $4 million that were seized from disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor will be returned to the people of India. The item trafficking from Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other nations was assisted by the looter Subhas Kapoor.

Five of the antiques were confiscated in accordance with the Office’s investigation against Nancy Wiener, and one in accordance with an investigation into Nayef Homsi, the statement reads.

At a repatriation ceremony held at the Indian Consulate in New York, all the artefacts were returned. US Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) Acting Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge, Tom Lau, was also in attendance.

The press release quoted District Attorney Bragg as saying, “We are happy to restore hundreds of beautiful items to the people of India.”

“A number of intricate and sophisticated trafficking gangs that showed little regard for the cultural or historical importance of these artefacts stole these treasures. Without the cooperation of our law enforcement partners at HSI and the excellent work of our world-class investigators, finding these antiques would not be feasible “he added.

Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York Michael Alfonso stated, “Today we are proud to join our partners from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to return an incredible 307 stolen works of art and antiquities to their rightful home in India. This repatriation is the result of a fifteen-year investigation that spanned the globe.

The statement states that he also said that HSI will keep looking into artefacts with dubious provenance or little to no provenance and would collaborate with domestic and international partners to return these irreplaceable historical artefacts to their proper homes.

The Arch Parikara first appeared in images of antiquity in a filthy, before-restoration state. These images, along with many others showing ancient artefacts sprawled across the grass or on the ground, were supplied to Kapoor by an illegal drug supplier in India. The statement claims that the object was brought into New York from India in May 2002.

The Arch Parikara was then cleaned by Kapoor and given to the Nathan Rubin – Ida Ladd Family Foundation, which in 2007 gave it to the Yale University Art Gallery.

The Office has given 13 countries 682 antiques worth more than USD 84 million. The Antiquities Trafficking Unit has returned approximately 2,200 artefacts worth more than USD 160 million to 22 nations since its creation.