Mangalore, July 19: Addressing the press reporters in the press meet held at SP Goyal’s office on July 19, Friday SP said in his address that district had reported many theft cases in various places and a total of seven persons arrested by the police in connection with the burglaries in various temples and Basadis in the district.
The SP informed that Thimmayya (55) of Chikmagalur, Somanath alias Somesha alias Kulla (45), Jayaraj Swami (45), Ganga alias Gangaraj (48), all from Hassan, and Nethra (38) of Shimoga were arrested on June 12, while another accused namely Babu (55) of Belthangady was arrested on July 13. Yet another person named Rajendra (65) of Shimoga was arrested on July 18.
The SP said the arrests were made at Manihalla in Bantwal taluk and police have recovered ancient idols made of gold and silver stolen by them from Basadis and temples at Punjalakatte, Bantwal and Kundapur. He said some of the silver idols stolen have been melted.
The value of the seized goods has been estimated at Rs 17 lakhs. Two vehicles including a Maruti Omni and a Tata Indica have also been recovered apart from several mobile phones and other implements used by them to commit the thefts. The SP said the idols will be sent to Archaeological Survey of India to determine their value.
He informed that the department which took seriously the several theft cases in shrines had formed a special team led by SI Sadananda Varnekar which during night patrolling had spotted a Tata Indica car at Nekkilady on June 12. The vehicle was given a chase and intercepted at Punjalakatte. The registration number KA 19 B 9116, was found to be fake and the car had several implements used for theft and also chilly powder.
Though they had a Maruti Omni they used to hire the Tata Indica and use it after changing its number plate, the SP said.
The SP said if one Jayaraj drives the vehicle three others namely Somanath, Timmaiah and Gangaraj used to loot the valuables and then escape in the vehicle. Babu served as their informer while Nethra’s services were taken to ensure that public did not suspect them.
He said the Maruti Omni and two idols were seized from Hassan and that Jayaraj was a marriage broker by profession.
The SP on this occasion also urged the religious shrine authorities to install CCTV cameras, alarms and have security guards to avoid thefts.