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Govt told to create special camp for idol theft cases

Coming down heavily on the rampant idol theft and smuggling transpiring in the state, the Madras High Court has directed the Chief Secretary to issue appropriate orders within a week for the creation of a special camp at Tiruchy headed by Inspector General of Police A G Pon Mancikavel to complete the trial in the pending cases of idol thefts.

Govt told to create special camp for idol theft cases
Madras High Court


Justice R Mahadevan, while passing orders on a plea pertaining to theft of six idols and another one seeking transfer of investigation of a case in the file of Idol Theft Wing CID involving their own personnel in idol theft to the CBCID, said, “The cases pending on the file of the various courts in Tamil Nadu prosecuted by the Idol Wing are hereby transferred to the file of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kumbakonam, for effective and speedy disposal of the cases on a day-to-day basis.

Observing that the directive principles of the state policy must be to protect the ancient idols and thwart all attempts to damage or smuggle them, he said the smuggling of the idols out of the country cannot take place if proper system is put in place to screen the objects. Also, noting that the idol wing is interacting with the respective departments of the Central government only to recover the stolen idols and antiques, but there seems to be no coordination between them to curb the crime, he suo motu impleaded the Secretary to the Revenue Department. He directed them to submit a report as to whether the packages/parcels sent out of the country, can be screened to prevent smuggling of idols and any other preventive measures that can be taken.

Justice Mahadevan said that the state must computerize the stock, provide adequate ICON centres with surveillance to keep safe custody of the valuable idols in the temples within four weeks.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, antique smuggler Subhash Chandra Kapoor was produced before the Kumbakonam court and the hearing on the case was adjourned to July 25. The priest of the Suthamalli Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple identified two recovered idols as belonging to the temple.

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