One of seven items found in a Honolulu museum believed to have been looted from India. Photo courtesy of ICE.

One of seven items found in a Honolulu museum believed to have been looted from India. Photo courtesy of ICE.

HONOLULU — The Honolulu Museum of Art has handed over seven artifacts likely looted from India to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Wednesday.
ICE officials said the museum didn’t know about the objects’ background when they were acquired between 1991 and 2003.
“Many of the items can be traced to one of India’s richest archeological regions, Chandraketugarh,” ICE officials said in a release on the matter earlier this week.
Authorities allege some of the items are tied to the Operation Hidden Idol investigation former New York-based art dealer, Subhash Kapoor. Kapoor is currently in custody in India awaiting trial for allegedly looting millions of dollars’ worth of rare antiquities, ICE officials said.
Pieces returned by the Honolulu museum include a 2,000-year-old terra cotta rattle.
“In addition to the rattle resembling the Buddhist god of wealth, the objects include figurines, architectural fragments and tiles, which were removed from religious temples and ancient Buddhist sites,” officials said.
In 2013, Homeland Security Investigation agents in New York linked the museum’s terra cotta rattle to the Hidden Idol case, the museum began working with authorities and identified the other six objects, officials said.
The artifacts will be used in the prosecution for the Hidden Idol case, which has already lead to the seizure of more than $100 million worth of allegedly looted objects and three arrest. The items will then likely be returned to India.

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