Authorities Thursday seized 13 pieces of art from India at Yale University which they suspect had been looted, reports the New York Times.
It’s part of an investigation into Subhash Kapoor, a former art dealer suspected of being an antiquities smuggler.
Art.net reports officers from Homeland Security seized works valued at a total of $1.29 million. Kapoor is allegedly part of a $143 million smuggling ring.
“Yale University, having been presented with information indicating that works of art in its collections were stolen from their countries of origin, delivered the works on March 30, 2022, to the New York district attorney’s office, which will coordinate the objects’ repatriation later this year,” said the university in a statement. “Yale was glad to work cooperatively with the D.A.’s office in this important matter.”
Kapoor is currently serving time in India for the theft and trafficking of more than 2500 South Asian artifacts. Authorities hope to seek his extradition to the United States on similar charges.
According to the Times, the Ruben Ladd Foundation donated nine of the seized items. Authorities say two of the items had been stolen from temples.
Vijay Kumar of the Indian Pride Project blamed Yale for not asking more questions before receiving the pieces.
“How can you buy or keep Indian art this long without full provenance and when you know about Kapoor and the history of theft from India,” he said.
“We hope other states take this seriously in going after the perpetrators, as Kapoor’s suppliers are still very active, pillaging and smuggling our antiquities,” Kumar told the Times of India.
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story, or making a contribution.