A 1500-year-old marble idol, estimated to worth over Rs one crore, was on Monday stolen from a Jain temple in Gujarat's Mehsana district, police said.
The incident came to light when a temple priest found that the image of 'Chakreshwari Mataji' was missing from the Digambar Jain temple, located in Visnagar town, and alerted the head priest Moni Nirbhay Sagarji, they said.
"We have gathered evidence from the spot and efforts are on to nab the thieves," Mehsana SP R J Sawani told PTI, adding the investigations have been handed over to the local Crime Branch.
Two security guards deputed at the temple gate were beaten up and tied with ropes to cots by the burglars, Sawani said.
In a similar incident around two years ago, robbers broke into theTarnga Jain temple in Mehsana district and tried to shift a marble idol of Bhagawan Neminath. However, since the image was heavy they could carry only a part of it, he said.
Policesaid they could not rule out the link between the two incidents as the accused in the previous case were presently out on bail and did not remain present in the court during last hearing.
Accordingto police, about a dozen thieves might have sneaked in the temple premises after breaking open the channel gate. The stolen idol is 2.5 feet tall and weighs about 90 kg.
Thehead priest Moniji said it was the second such incident and did not rule out the possibility of involvement of insiders into the crime. A case has been registered and further investigations are on.