ALAPPUZHA: Over 11 years on since the theft of a finial (kalasam) at the Muthavazhi Sreekumaramangalam Subramanian Swami temple at Pandanad near Chengannur, the Crime Branch(CB) has started reinvestigation into the case. The theft had occurred on October 20, 2011.
The decision to reprobe the case followed the petition submitted by the accused -- Sarathkumar, Geethanandan, P T Liju and Sajeesh Kumar -- before the chief minister, which claimed that they were falsely implicated and the actual culprits remained scot-free. CB officials recorded the statements of the accused as part of the fresh investigation.
The thieves were attracted by the presence of iridium in the stolen finial. CB officials confirmed that the case was reopened following the petition filed by arrested persons. “We started recording the statements of arrested persons. The investigation report is likely in two months,” an official said.
The temple believed to be 2000-years-old had made headlines in 2008 following claims that the finial, also known as thazhikakudam, contained iridium. The temple had started drawing visitors and researchers after the temple administration committee claimed in 2008 ‘foreign dealers’ had approached them and that a ‘Germany-based firm had satellite images which confirmed presence of iridium’ in the temple’s dome.
However, the stolen dome was found abandoned three days later. Though the temple authorities replaced the dome with a new one, another theft attempt was made in September 2016. The authorities shifted the dome to a strongroom and installed a new dome made of another metal.
Role of political leaders
The local police and later state special branch investigated the case and arrested four persons in connection with the theft. However, the accused said in the complaint that some political leaders were also involved in the theft. The temple has been managed by a committee led by local residents. A few political leaders too were part of the committee. The CB will look into the alleged role of these leaders in the theft, officials said.