Following an order by the Madras High court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has commenced a probe into the allegations against Kader Batcha , a former deputy superintendent of police (DSP) of Tamil Nadu police(now suspended), who faces an accusation of indulging in robbing temple idols (Murtis) and selling it for ₹15 lakhs through dealer Deendayalan.
In order to pursue the probe, the CBI has re-registered an FIR that it first filed in 2017.
In July 2022, Justice G Jayachandran of Madras High Court ordered a CBI probe after hearing a plea by DSP Batcha in which he alleged that retired Inspector General of Police Ponn Manickavel, who headed an Idol Wing-CID special team, colluded with international and domestic idol smugglers.
In March 2019, the idol wing CID police arrested DSP Batcha in connection with an idol theft case. Batcha was nabbed from his friend's residence.
Batcha was arrested over charges of conspiring with some suspects in stealing idols from the Sri Narumpoonatha Swamy Temple in Pazhavoor near Tirunelveli in 2005.
In 2016, the idol wing police arrested international idol smuggler Subhash Kapoor and a few others in connection with the theft of idols from the Pazhavoor temple.
Batcha also faces charges of confiscating three idols at gunpoint from the land owners from where the idols were unearthed at Aruppukkottai in Tamil Nadu. It has further been alleged that police officers sold these precious idols.
In his petition before the Madras HC, Batcha had accused Manickavel of colluding with international idol smuggler Subash Chandra Kapoor and domestic smuggler Deenadayalan. Batcha has also alleged that a case against him was registered in 2017 at the instance of Manickavel.
While Batcha has sought a CB-CID case against Manickavel, the court ordered a CBI probe considering the wider ramifications of the allegations and counter-allegations.
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