Hyderabad: Five people were arrested on Tuesday for stealing antique gold and silver worth Rs 5 to 7 crore. Sources said that the treasure had been unearthed from an old house at Doodhbowli under the Kamatipura police station limits.
The police has seized 1.7 kg of gold coins and ornaments and 4.6 kg of silver ornaments, which archaeologists say belong to the Mughal period and ancient Roman times.
The treasure was discovered from a wall when the house was being demolished for reconstruction.
Police commissioner Anurag Sharma said that labour contractors Mohammed Rafeeq and Abdul Bari, along with five labourers, stole the treasure and distributed it among themselves instead of informing the house owner and government authorities.
Sharma said that while the market value of the seized material was about Rs 50 lakh, its estimated antique value would be about Rs 5-7 crore. “As we are told by archaeologists, the gold and silver ornaments were crafted during the time of the Mughals. Thus they have great archaeological and historical importance. The gold coins or ‘ashrafis’ belong to the Mughal period while a few other coins are from ancient Rome,” he added.
Contractors, workers split treasure
Additional deputy commissioner of police, Commissioner’s Task Force, P. Rameshaiah said that the house in old city where the treasure was found, belonged to one Satish Kumar who had inherited it from his grandfather late Vishwanath. “The house was purchased by Vishwanath around 50 years ago from two brothers Prem Raj and Anand Raj,” Rameshaiah added.
The labour contractors, Rafeeq, 55, from Kishanbagh and Bari, 58, from Phoolbagh, had taken a contract to demolish the house in the third week of October. They had employed the other accused, S. Ramulu, 47, Mohammed Muneer, 55, and Mallesh, 23, for the work, said Ramehsaiah adding that two other accused, Ramulu and Yadaiah, were absconding.
“While demolishing the house, they found the treasure hidden in the wall of the western side room of the house. Twenty per cent was distributed among the labourers and the remaining 80 per cent was taken by the contractors Bhari and Rafeeq,” Rameshaiah added.
Cases have been booked against the accused under IPC Section 380 for theft and section 20 of the Indian Treasure Trove Act. They were handed over to the Kamatipura police for further action. Sources said that the treasure would be handed over to the state archaeological department.