Irregularities were reported in 2003 and 2004 regarding the over 5,000-year-old idol installed at the Lord Muruga temple in Palani, when the temple authorities had decided to make its replica with 200 kg gold. The decision to replace the original idol was taken in an effort to save it from getting damaged.
It was alleged that the temple officials had conspired to smuggle the original idol. Within six months of installation the new idol, it lost its shine, raising suspicion. Later, it was shifted to the temple’s strong room. Thereafter, there were complaints of irregularities in the making of the idol and a police team led by IGP (Idol Wing) AG Pon Manickavel registered a case and started investigation.
They arrested Palani Temple Joint Commissioner Raja, Chief Sthapathi Muthiah, Deputy Commissioner Pugalendhi, and HR and CE Appraiser Deivendran. Similarly, the former HR and CE Commissioner, who was awarded condition bail, was also asked not to leave Kumbakonam.
Meanwhile, the cops decided to produce the controversial idol and the one kept in the locker room before the Kumbakonam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court. On Tuesday, the idol was taken out from the chest and a special yagnam was performed by the temple chief priest Amirthalingam at Paravel Mandapam.
On Wednesday morning, the idol was brought down from the Palani hills in a wooden box and was taken to Kumbakonam court in the afternoon with strong police protection led by Idol Wing DSP Venkataraman. Palani temple Assistant Commissioner Senthil, Manager Selvaraj and temple staff accompanied the idol.
The idol was weighed before Magistrate Ayyappan Pillai, which recorded a weight of 221 kg and measured 115 cm in height. The Magistrate ordered the idol to be kept at the icon centre at Nageswaran temple in Kumbakonam.