CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the State Chief Secretary to set up within a week a special camp at Tiruchy, headed by AG Ponn Manickavel, Inspector General of Police, with other members of the Idol Wing, who were associated with him earlier, for the completion of trial in the pending idol theft/smuggling cases in State.
Justice R Mahadevan gave the direction on Friday while disposing of two criminal original petitions from advocate ‘Elephant’ G Rajendran and R Venkataraman.
All cases pending in in the State, filed by the Idol Wing, shall be transferred to the file of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM), Kumbakonam, for effective and speedy disposal of the cases, on a day-to-day basis.
Manickavel and all officers in cases connected with Idol Wing, CID, shall continue to investigate and follow-up all cases pending trial, till the disposal by the Kumbakonam ACJM. The team shall continue to follow up those cases in addition to their present and future assignments.
The judge also directed the Thanjavur Collector to ensure that proper facilities for stay and transportation are provided to the Assistant Public Prosecutors during at Kumbakonam. The details of the cases, wherein the idols have been smuggled out of the country, must be sent to the Union Revenue Ministry to enable it o issue appropriate directions for initiation of cases under the Customs Act.
The Union Revenue Secretary shall submit a report on whether the packages/parcels sent out can be screened to prevent smuggling of idols/antiques and any other measures that can be taken.
The HR&CE Department must submit a report to Manickavel on the number of temples under its control and list of archakas employed and assigned to each temple.
If an archaka/executive officer is assigned to more than one temple to maintain the idols, the report must specifically state so.
An FIR must be immediately registered by any competent officer of the Idol Wing, based on the complaint of Venkataraman, one of the petitioners, regarding the theft of six idols from Sri Pasupatheeswarar Temple, Pandanallur and a copy must be submitted to this court.
If the roles of delinquent officials and others are prima facie made out, necessary sanction must be obtained forthwith from appropriate authority and they must be prosecuted. Departmental proceedings must be initiated against K Kamaraj, A Ramachandran, head clerk K Raja and any other official of the temple, who had acted with hand in glove with the culprits.
The directions issued to authorities concerned must be complied and a compliance report must be filed before this court on September 4, the judge concluded.