London Police returns stolen 12th century Buddha statue to India on Independence Day

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A 12th century bronze Buddha statue stolen from a museum at Nalanda in Bihar nearly 60 years ago was returned to India today by the Londons Metropolitan Police as part of a ceremony here to mark Indias Independence Day. Once the dealer and the owner were made aware the sculpture was the same one that had been stolen from India, the Metropolitan Police said they cooperated with the Mets Art and Antiques Unit and agreed for the piece to be returned to India. 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, who then alerted the police. Scotland Yard returned the statue stolen to the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Y K Sinha, as part of a ceremony to mark Independence Day at India House in London today. I am delighted to return this piece of history. This is an excellent example of the results that can come with close cooperation between law enforcement, trade and scholars, said Met Police Detective Chief Inspector Sheila Stewart, who was accompanied by officials from the UKs Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the handover ceremony. Sinha described the return of the On our Independence Day, it (return of the statue) highlights the multi-faceted cooperation between our two countries, Detective Constable Sophie Hayes of the Mets Art and Antique Unit said 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. 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 Michael Ellis, UK Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said: Thanks to the work of the Metropolitan Polices Arts and Antiques Unit, we are one of the first countries to recover one of the 14 elusive Buddha statues stolen from Nalanda nearly 60 years ago.