The Tamil Nadu government today informed the Madras High Court that it had taken a policy decision to hand over all idol theft cases to the CBI as the idol wing was "not performing satisfactorily". Additional Advocate General P H Arvind Pandiyan made the submission before the Special Bench comprising Justices R Mahadevan and P D Audikesavulu after a public interest litigation was filed by Rangarajan Narasimhan about the theft of doors and idols at Srirangam's Sri Ranganathar Temple.
The government took the decision to hand over all the cases to the CBI as the idol wing, headed by IG Pon Manickavel, is not performing satisfactorily, Pandiyan said, adding that the wing had not filed even a single report on the progress of cases in the past one year. Idol theft cases in future will also be probed by the CBI, he said. Advocate 'Elephant' Rajendran then submitted that he would oppose the handing over of the cases to the CBI. To this, the Bench said, "Let the government first pass the order."
It directed Manickavel to file a status report of the cases and posted the matter for further hearing on August 8. The issue pertains to a batch of pleas, including one moved by 'Elephant' Rajendran seeking a direction to the state government to check idol thefts and take appropriate steps to recover stolen idols. Manickavel, who was transferred from the idol wing police by the government, was reinstated on July 21, 2017, after the High Court quashed his transfer order. The court also constituted the Special Bench to exclusively hear the idol theft cases.