15 Aug 2018
Scotland Yard returns stolen 12th-century statue to India on I-Day
A 12th century Buddha statue stolen from a museum at Nalanda in Bihar nearly 60 years ago was returned to India today by the UK's Metropolitan Police as part of India's Independence Day ceremony in London.
The bronze statue with silver inlay is one of the 14 statues stolen in 1961 from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) site museum in Nalanda.
Statue returned to Indian High Commissioner YK Sinha
Scotland Yard returned the stolen statue to the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, YK Sinha, at India House in London today.
Once the dealer and the owner were made aware the sculpture was the same one that had been stolen from India, Scotland Yard cooperated with the police's Art and Antiques Unit and agreed for the piece to be returned to India.
Statue was identified at a trade fair in May
The statue was identified at a trade fair in March this year by Lynda Albertson of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (ARCA) and Vijay Kumar from the India Pride Project.
"This is an excellent example of the results that can come with close cooperation between law enforcement, trade, and scholars," said Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector Sheila Stewart.
Owner, dealer cooperated with the police
Detective Constable Sophie Hayes of the Art and Antique Unit said that it had been established that there was no criminality by the current owner or the dealer who had been offering the stolen statue for sale.
"Indeed, from the outset, they have fully cooperated with the police to resolve this matter and they have made the decision to return the sculpture," Hayes said.
Art and Antiques Unit
Art and Antiques Unit among Scotland Yard's oldest specialist units
"We are delighted to be able to facilitate the return of this important piece of cultural heritage to India," Hayes said.
The Art and Antiques Unit was founded 50 years ago and is one of the oldest specialist units in the Metropolitan Police Service.
The unit prides itself on a long history of reuniting owners with their stolen property.
Sinha calls the move a wonderful gesture
Sinha described the return of the "priceless Buddha" as a "wonderful gesture" and a particular honor, given his own roots in the eastern state of Bihar.
- Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
- Independence Day
- Antique Unit
- Antiques Unit
- Archaeological Survey
- Association for Research into Crimes Against Art
- Crimes Against Art
- Detective Constable Sophie Hayes
- India House
- India Pride Project
- Indian High Commissioner YK Sinha
- Lynda Albertson
- Metropolitan Police
- Metropolitan Police Service
- Scotland Yard
- Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector Sheila Stewart
- Sheila Stewart
- Sophie Hayes
- Vijay Kumar
- YK Sinha