The Idol Wing investigation department of Tamil Nadu police has arrested the former Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department Veerashanmuga Mani from his residence today (Mar 15). He was facing charges of committing irregularities in using gold while making two idols at Kanchipuram Ekambaranathar temple .
The arrest was made by a team of policemen led by Special Officer investigating Idol Wing Theft, A G Ponn Manickavel.
Veerashanmuga Mani was produced before a magistrate at Kumbakonam and remanded in custody.
At the temple, gold meant for making Somaskandhar utsavar and suzhali utsavar were allegedly stolen. At least off 5.75 kg gold has been allegedly hived off from the Somaskandar idol of Ekambaranathar temple in Kancheepuram.
Both statues were made of 114 kgs of gold. It is said the temple authorities collected 15 kgs of gold from devotees, but only eight grams went in for making the idols.
When the two idols were measured in the presence of the Additional Judicial Magistrate last year, it was found out that the Idol of Somaskandar stood at two feet and weighed 110 Kg while the idol of Ezhuvaarkuzhaliamman stood at three feet and weighed 60 Kg. The idols are to be kept at the icon centre inside the Kumbakonam Nageswaran temple according to the orders of the court.
The alleged misappropriation of gold in the making of the two idols has earlier led to the arrest of the former Additional Commissioner of Thiruppani, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, M. Kavitha, by sleuths from the Idol wing in July last year.
The chief ‘sthapathi’ of its Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department, M Muthaiah too had obtained anticipatory in this gold theft case from Madras High Court.
The idol wing has registered an FIR against several individuals , including the temple executive officer Murugesan, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) department ‘chief sthapathi’ (temple architect) Muthaiah, sculptor Masilamani and priest Rajappa.