The Straits Times
Published on Sep 25, 2012

Thieves damage Indian heritage site in treasure hunt


BANGALORE (AFP) - Police in southern India are hunting a criminal gang who destroyed part of a historic world heritage site in hope of unearthing a hidden treasure trove, an official said on Tuesday.

The thieves knocked down the 16th century entrance to a temple in the sprawling ruins of Hampi, 350km from the Karnataka state capital Bangalore, a district superintendent said.

"We have formed two police teams to hunt down the culprits who vandalised the 4.57m entrance tower assuming that priceless treasure was hidden in its foundations," Mr Chandragupta, who uses one name, told AFP.

The state archaeology department was trying to verify if any treasure in the form of gold or silver coins and priceless antiques was indeed buried under the pillars as popularly believed, Mr Chandragupta added.