The culturally significant artefacts include- a carved relief sculpture of limestone, believed to be dated between the 1st Century BC and 1st Century AD from what is now Andhra Pradesh state, and a 17th Century AD "Navaneetha Krishna" bronze sculpture from what is now Tamil Nadu state. These treasures were handed over to the High Commissioner of India in London.
Indian High Commissioner in London Ruchi Ghanashyam, following the traditional flag hoisting ceremony in the Gandhi Hall of India House, said the limestone carved relief is estimated to be about 2,000 years old, and the Krishna bronze statue is estimated to be about 300 years old. "We cannot put a monetary value on these artefacts as they are indeed priceless."
She described the return of these artefacts to India as a "warm and friendly gesture" by the UK and US agencies.
Here is the full image of Navaneetha Krishna idol— Ravi Kant - रवि कांत (@LegalKant) 15 августа 2019 г.
A London-based connoisseur who purchased it from art smuggler Subhash Kapoor came forward to U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and decided to surrender the pieces.
May Krishna bless him. pic.twitter.com/nVdQMIL3TZ
The two artefacts are linked to one of the most prolific art smugglers in the world, Subhash Kapoor, who was recently charged in Manhattan, New York by US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The long-lost items were recovered after the UK individual who possessed the items contacted HIS expressing a desire to surrender them.
"The cultural significance of the artefacts looted from regions around the world extends beyond their monetary value. Pieces, like those recovered through this operation, are stolen fragments of history; and it is an honour to return them to their rightful home country," said Peter C. Fitzhugh, special agent in charge of HSI New York.
"HSI recognises the importance of both international and local partnerships in locating pilfered antiquities and cultural property, and it is through these repatriations that new generations are able to experience a part of their nation's story," he added.
The artefacts are set to be handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India, which will determine their historical significance and conservation.