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NYC Met returns 15 artworks to India

The Manhattan District Attorney's office in an investigation found that the artworks were smuggled into the US by Subhash Kapoor.

Image -Twitter/@metmuseum

The New York-based Metropolitan Museum of Art will hand over 15 antique sculptures to India, the museum announced on March 30. The sculptures were found to be illegally acquired from India by the Manhattan District Attorney's office in an investigation

Belonging to the period between the 1st century BCE and the 11th century CE, the figurines made of terracotta, copper, and stone were smuggled into the US by a dealer, Subhash Kapoor, who is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Tamil Nadu after being found guilty of burgling and smuggling idols abroad.

"The Met contacted Homeland Security about Kapoor in 2015 and is pleased to be acting on this matter today as a result of the criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office," the museum said in a statement.

It clarified that it is committed to the responsible acquisition of archaeological art and applies rigorous provenance standards both to new acquisitions and to works long in its collection.

"The Museum is actively reviewing the history of antiquities from suspect dealers.  The Museum values highly its long-standing relationships with the government of India, and is pleased to resolve this matter," the statement further read.