Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple Idol theft: IG Pon Manickavel begins probe

Rangarajan Narashiman, a resident of Srirangam, accompanied the IG to various spots in the temple.

Published: 07th September 2018 03:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2018 03:32 AM   |  A+A-

IG Pon Manickavel inspecting the idols at Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple following a High Court order in Srirangam, Tiruchy, on Thursday | MK Ashok Kumar

By Express News Service

TIRUCHY: Idol wing IG Pon Manickavel, along with a team of officials, on Thursday conducted an inspection in the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple following a directive by Madras High Court to probe into a complaint regarding theft of idols, doors and antiques from the temple.

Rangarajan Narashiman, a resident of Srirangam, accompanied the IG to various spots in the temple. It was on Rangarajan’s petition that the High Court on August 9 directed the idol wing to conduct a probe and submit a report within six weeks. Manickavel and his team inquired about the main deity in the sanctum sanctorum and also about the work carried out during the renovation and consecration which took place in 2015.

He learned from HR&CE’s Joint Commissioner Pon Jayaraman about the old idols and doors that were removed from their places during the restoration work prior to the consecration. The IG visited the Thousand Pillars Mandapam and saw the idols that were kept protected there.  
Also, he listened to complaints of the devotees, who came there during the inspection. Some of the devotees pointed out that many age-old structures had been altered and trees felled during restoration works.

The whole proceedings was videographed. Later, addressing media, Pon Manickavel said only 25 per cent of inspections had been completed, and that the remaining would be carried out sooner. Also, he appealed to residents of Srirangam to approach the idol wing office located near the TVS Tollgate if they have evidence that could help investigations.

“We will give time both to the temple administration and the petitioner to submit evidence. Also, the people emerging as witnesses should not be threatened by anyone. If anyone does so, severe action would be initiated by department,” he said.

Rangarajan told media persons, “I suspect that the idol of the  ‘Urchavar (Namperurmal) has been replaced with a fake one. Temple authorities, during the restoration works, reportedly found two idols. Where are they now? Apart from this, several other idols are missing. I have submitted evidence in the court following which the probe has been ordered. I hope justice will triumph.”

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