Three more fragments of the stolen statues the 'Bust of Vishnu' and the black-coloured 'Vishnu' were recovered from Baliarpur of Aminbazar dump yard yesterday.

A Rapid Action Battalion personnel displays part of a stolen statue, which the Rab claims to be the “Bust of Vishnu”, recovered from Baliarpur rubbish dump in Aminbazar yesterday. Photo: STAR

The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) recovered the face and a fragment of left hand of the ‘Bust of Vishnu’ and a piece of the basement of black ‘Vishnu’.

Md Aminul Huq of Rab-1 said: “We along with Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) employees have so far recovered 45 fragments of the broken statues.”

Swapan Kumar Biswas, acting keeper of the National Museum, who detected yesterday’s recovered fragments at the Rab-1 office, told The Daily Star: “This is a major recovery of the broken ‘Bust of Vishnu'”.

About 20 percent of the statue has so far been recovered, while the recovery of the ‘Vishnu’ is very insignificant, he added.

According to eyewitnesses, the fragments of brown-coloured ‘Bust of Vishnu’ grew pale.

Talking to The Daily Star, Gazi Abdul Mannan, deputy assistant director of Rab-1 who led yesterday’s drive, said: “We found the fragments by digging out at least four layers of the garbage.

“Other fragments were also recovered from the spot yard and all the pieces were found within 30-40 yards. The remaining pieces might be hidden there.”

Rab-1 sources said they also recovered two other fragments of the ‘Bust of Vishnu’ on Wednesday and 28 others on December 28.

The two priceless artefacts were stolen on December 21 from the Zia International Airport (ZIA) while these were on way to France for an exhibition.

Rab personnel have so far arrested 27 people in this connection and of them three — former lawmaker Anwara Begum, Abbas Ali, alleged ringleader of “Abbas-Nasir” smuggling gang of ZIA, and Nasir Uddin — were placed on a three-day remand.

The rest have been sent to the prison.

Sub-inspector Monu Sohel Imtiaz of Airport Police Station, also the investigation officer (IO), said: “The three-day remand ends today [Thursday] and they will be hauled before the court tomorrow [Friday].

“There have been major developments following the interrogation and we are now looking for some other persons. Our higher authority will decide whether to remand them further.”

Maj Md Aminul Huq of Rab-1 said: “We’re hunting for Mohammad Ali, who was a sweeper of the civil aviation and was sacked for his illicit activities, and Razzak, who is involved in smuggling at ZIA.”