Chennai: With the idol theft cases becoming murkier with many officials seeking anticipatory bail, and the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) department officials getting the jitters, the department has alleged that the idol wing police is harassing officials and staff, rather than focus attention on investigating only about the missing idols.
Instead of zeroing in on culprits involved in the theft or investigate how the idols went missing from the temples, the idol wing police top brass is "targeting" the officials and staff. "When a victim complaints to the police about a missing gold chain, would the police ask about the remaining gold jewellery left untouched? This is exactly the case with the idol wing police with regard to the idols now in temple custody. It is showing unwarranted concern on the existing database instead of focusing on how the idols had gone missing," a senior HR & CE official claimed and alleged that the idol wing police probe into temple idol thefts was "going off the track."
DC’s enquires with the HR & CE officials reveal that the department lost faith on IG Pon Manickavel who heads the idol wing police and that they seek an "impartial and proper investigation that would lead to logical conclusion." Hence, the transfer of investigation to the CBI, it was argued.
On Aug.1, a day after additional commissioner (temple renovation) M. Kavitha was arrested in connection with the alleged misappropriation in making a gold idol of Lord Somaskandar for the ancient Ekambaranathar temple in neighbouring Kancheepuram district, the government informed the Madras high court and even issued a government order transferring all the cases under investigation by the idol wing police to the CBI.
Days before her arrest, Kavitha and also an executive officer gave a written complaint to the commissioner of HR & CE claiming they were under undue duress from the IG who allegedly forced them to admit their involvement in a case; despite being innocent.
Nevertheless, the arrest of Kavitha had been the last straw in demanding a CBI probe. Wondering if any temple priest was enquired in any of the idol theft cases, another official said the priests alone enter into the garbagraha and that no commissioner had so far entered the garbagraha. "Only the priests are authorised to enter the sanctum sanctorum and they have the key," he added.