The Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) Department continues to be in the news, this time for its response in the Madras High Court that records pertaining to the idol of a peacock at Punnaivananathar Sannidhi in Mylapore Kapaleeswarar temple have been destroyed.
The Hindu reported that the High Court bench of Justices R Mahadevan and PD Audikesavalu was shocked hear about the destruction of records that were sought by the Tamil Nadu Idol Theft Wing CID Department. The Government advocate P Kritika Kamal told the court that the HR&CE officials were giving “evasive replies” to requests made by Idol Theft Wing to provide the documents.
Wondering how the documents could be destroyed, the bench ordered the Inspector General of Police A G Ponn Manickavel, who heads the Idol Theft Wing CID Department, to investigate the matter. The missing documents argument affirms allegations of petitioner Rangarajan Narasimhan, observed Justice Mahadevan.
Narasimhan had petitioned the court saying that the missing idol carried a flower in its beak and it had been replaced by one that had the bird holding a snake in its beak. The idol was shifted out of the temple in 1994 during consecration.
Manickavel told the court that the records were destroyed systematically with some staff working on Saturday and Sunday to wipe off any evidence. He said the staff had been summoned for enquiry.
The idol wing has been investigating the theft of the peacock case and interrogated the chief Sthapathi Muthiah. M Thirumagal, Additional Commissioner of HR&CE, is one of the suspects in the case. Official source told Swarajya that Thirumagal’s replies to queries raised by the idol wing have been evasive. In particular, Thirumagal told the investigators that she wouldn’t take cognisance of missing things until she was informed. This was despite her office being just 100 metres from where the idol went missing.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!