An antique idol of Lord Mahavira placed in the Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir at Chandani Chowk, one of the oldest temples in the city, has been the subject of a legal battle for the past four years and now it is going to be produced before a trial court next month. Metropolitan magistrate Aparna Swamy issued summons to a representative of Jain Panchayat (Jain organisation), with the direction that he produce the idol on January 31, 2012, as the trial has finally started against three persons who allegedly were trying to sell it in the international market.
The court's order came while allowing the plea of the counsel of the accused, who submitted that the examination of witnesses could not be continued further until the case property was brought before it. Allowing his plea, the court issued the summons.
The idol, which is worth crores of rupees, was recovered from three persons who claimed to be contractual labourers, on February 21, 2007. Police filed an FIR alleging that the suspects were about to sell the "stolen" idol, weighing 4.2kg in the international market. As the idol was lying in the storeroom of the Kashmere Gate police station in central Delhi for few years with no rightful claimant, Prachin Shri Aggarwal Digambar Jain Panchayat, a Jain organization, moved the court to take the idol on conditional possession and instal it in the Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir for performing its religious rituals.
The community submitted that the idol was a work of art and sculpture and belonged to society as a whole. He said the idol would be installed in a manner that it could be removed if required, as the Jain scriptures provided for 'chal pratishtha' (movable establishment). Even as Delhi Police opposed the application, the court had in an order on April 9, 2007, allowed the conditional release of the idol on a payment of Rs 5 crore to the applicant organization. Source: The Times of India