Probe thoroughly idol theft complaint made in 2017: HC to Police

Chennai: The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu idol wing police to conduct a thorough investigation into a November 3, 2017 complaint alleging theft of various idols and ‘salagramams’ in the famous Sri Ranganathar temple in Srirangam.

A special division bench comprising Justice R Mahadevan and Justice PD Audikesavalu, constituted for dealing with temple matters, gave the directive after going through the complaint made by petitioner Rangarajan Narasimhan as well as submissions made by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) department.

The petitioner levelled various allegations against the department, trustees of the temple and priests with regard to the “theft” of idols, which were denied by the respondents. The counsel for the HR and CE department submitted that during 2015-17, only renovation works were carried on and the idols and artefacts, which were alleged to have been stolen, were very much available on the temple premises.

The department also produced voluminous materials supporting its version. Further, it opposed the act of the petitioner in putting up posts on social media, alleging that he wanted to defame the officials and others. The bench, considering the submissions, had earlier directed the idol wing officials to visit the temple and find out the factual position.

After such visit, the idol wing officials submitted that a detailed enquiry is to be conducted so as to unravel the truth. The bench, after recording this, said, “Without going into the merits of the claims made by the respective parties, the court directs the idol wing to conduct a thorough investigation into the complaint of the petitioner.  Also, the bench said all the parties, including the petitioner, should be given a reasonable opportunity to have their say and furnish relevant materials substantiating their stands.

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