The Himachal Pradesh police is upbeat after finding all the stolen idols and artefacts in the Kullu valley some six weeks after they were stolen from a famous temple in Kullu town.
But worries remain if the lone robber can be deported to India as no extradition treaty exists between India and Nepal.
“We will try for deportation of the accused Nar Prasad, a Nepalese national,” said Sanjay Kumar, Himachal police chief. “We identified the man on the basis of CCTV footage and mobile calls active on the night of the theft on December 8 last year,” he said.
“We were able to keep track of the accused on the basis of his mobile IMEI number even though it was switched off most of the time and the SIM cards were changed,” Kumar added.
“He has a track record of thefts and has been to jail many times,” said Sanjay Kundu additional police chief who conducted the investigation.
“The accused confessed to Nepal police on Friday where our team of police officers are also present. They conveyed the location of the stolen artefacts to us and we were able to find them from two different spots near Kullu,” he added.
The centuries old Raghunath idol is highly revered. There were four other idols along with temple valuables among the recovered lot.
This is the biggest temple theft in Himachal Pradesh and the police had announced Rs 10 lakh for providing clues of the robbery.
“The robber had entered the guarded temple from the roof after removing slates(stones) and sliding in with the help of a rope and stole gold and silver idols and artefacts,” Kundu stated .
Raghunath is the chief deity in whose honour the exotic Kullu Dasshera fair is held.The annual fair in autumn attracts people from across the world as over 200 village deities gather outside the temple. Most villages have a temple and idol of a deity in the hills of Himachal Pradesh. Temple thefts have been on the rise in recent years. But this theft is the biggest ever in the hill state.