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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 October 2006, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
Priceless Indian statue recovered
Police officer with the stolen statue
The bronze statues were recovered in an undercover operation
Police in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh say they have recovered one of 18 priceless antique idols stolen from the Patna Museum in nearby Bihar state.

Police have arrested five suspects who were allegedly trying to sell the idol in the city of Benares.

The city's police inspector, Manoj Kumar Pant, said police have gone to other locations to recover more idols.

Police say they received a tip-off that the thieves had taken one idol to a public park in an effort to sell it.

Pala empire

Police say that an officer was disguised as a dealer to trap the suspects.

Stolen statue
The idols were insured for millions of dollars

The recovered idol weighs a little less than 4 kgs, and shows Lord Buddha sitting in meditation.

Police alerted Interpol last month about the theft of the antique Buddha statues from Patna Museum.

Robbers broke in through a first-floor window and stole the ninth and 10th century works of art.

The antiques date from the Pala dynasty, which ruled the Bihar and Bengal regions of South Asia from the eighth to the 12th centuries.

The Pala empire is noted for its art and architecture, and in particular for its distinctive Buddhist sculptures.

The bronze statues were insured for millions of dollars.

The BBC's Ram Dutt Tripathi in Lucknow said the thefts were a major loss to the museum.

Our correspondent says that because the museum is situated next to a police station, it was a major embarrassment to the authorities.

Bihar has a reputation as India's poorest and most lawless state.

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