Missing Shivaji statue found in San Jose scrapyard

New York, Feb 14 (IANS): A statue of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj that went missing from a park in San Jose, California, last month has been found.

The statue at the Guadalupe River Park, depicting the leader on horseback clutching a sword, was a gift from Pune, San Jose's sister city.

The 440-pound sculpture of the 17th century ruler was found last week next to a soda machine in the lobby of Tung Tai Group, a San Jose metal scrapyard north of downtown, the Mercury News reported.

After being notified of the statue's location, two police officers and two detectives went to the scrapyard and interviewed its workers.

Workers told the investigators that two men and a woman came to the site at 1726 Rogers Avenue on January 29 to drop off the sculpture, but did not provide a more detailed description of the trio.

An officer and one of the scrapyard workers then loaded the statue into the back of a patrol car.

"I am so glad that it is back... People wanted to know where it was," Sunil Ganu, a San Jose resident who helped get the statue installed over two decades ago, told Mercury News.

He said the statue had to be hoisted by a small crane when it was originally installed.

The statue, which was first brought to the city in 1999, is the only statue of Shivaji Maharaj in North America.

At 440 pounds, a bronze statue would fetch approximately $880, while an iron statue would be around $88 as scrap metal.

A spokesperson for Mayor Matt Mahan told Mercury News that the police will be investigating the incident and the statue will eventually be returned to the city.

"This statue holds incredible value to our Indian community, embracing our shared pride and respect for the warrior-ruler Shivaji and our relationship with our sister-city Pune," said Mayor Matt Mahan in a statement.



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