Wrath of Shiva
Atrial has just started in a court near Trichy in Tamil Nadu. On one side is a Chola bronze statue of Nataraj, the 1,000-year-old guardian of Brihadeeswara temple at Sripuranthan village. On the other side is Subhash Kapoor, a New Delhi-born and New York-based antiquity dealer, charged with selling the deity to the National Gallery of Australia. According to Interpol, Kapoor is “one of the biggest” temple smugglers in the world. But right now he is pleading “not guilty”. It was in 2005 that Kapoor apparently set the plan to steal the deity. The Shiva temple was lying unmanned. Daily worship had stopped after rumours of deadly scorpions and bees colonising the area did the rounds. The theft was discovered only in 2008. Interpol detained Kapoor at Frankfurt airport in 2011 and he has since been in judicial custody at Chennai jail. The biggest weakness of the case is: There is no photographic evidence linking Nataraj to the temple. Will this allow Kapoor to get away?