Melbourne: The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has filed a lawsuit against Indian-origin art dealer Subhash Kapoor over a USD five million deal of an 11th century Nataraja statue which was allegedly stolen.

“The National Gallery of Australia has filed documents in the Supreme Court of New York-based on fraud and other acts committed by New York commercial gallery Art of the Past, its director and employee,” the NGA said in a recent statement.

The Gallery bought the Chola-period bronze statue called Shiva as Lord of the Dance (Nataraja) in 2008 from New York-based Kapoor’s Art of the Past.

“As the matter is now before the Court, it is not appropriate for the National Gallery of Australia to comment further,” it said.

According to a media report, NGA was now seeking the money back which it paid for the alleged statue.

Last year, the office manager for Kapoor’s Art of the past Dealership, Aaron M Freedman, had pleaded guilty to six counts of criminal possession of stolen property.

The Chola-period Shiva statue is listed in court documents as being illegally exported from India.

The court was told the Shiva statue had been stolen from a temple in India and shipped to the United States for sale as part of large scale smuggling ring.

Kapoor is also facing charges in India over the alleged smuggling ring.

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