HC asks of­fi­cials to join hands to fight idol theft

Or­ders HR&CE chief to or­gan­ise meet­ing within 3 weeks

The Hindu - - TAMIL NADU - Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

The Madras High Court on Thurs­day or­dered a joint meet­ing of Com­mis­sioner of Hindu Re­li­gious and Char­i­ta­ble En­dow­ments, In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice A.G. Pon Man­ick­avel and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of In­dia as well as the State Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Depart­ment to chalk out ways and means to solve idol theft cases.

Pass­ing in­terim or­ders on a batch of writ pe­ti­tions, Jus­tice R. Mahadevan di­rected the HR&CE Com­mis­sioner to en­sure that the meet­ing was con­ducted within three weeks and all the in­fras­truc­tural re­quire­ments of Mr. Pon Man­ick­avel, who had been ap­pointed as the head of Idol Wing CID on the or­ders of the court, were ad­dressed.

The judge passed the or­ders af­ter hear­ing the case through video con­fer­enc­ing from the Madu­rai Bench of the High Court. While the IG par­tic­i­pated in the pro­ceed­ings from Madu­rai, one of the pe­ti­tion­ers ‘Ele­phant’ G. Ra­jen­dran and Gov­ern­ment Pleader (in-charge) T.N. Ra­jagopalan made their sub­mis­sion from here.

Dur­ing the course of ar­gu­ments, the IG told the court that he would re­quire high­def­i­ni­tion cam­eras to shoot pic­tures of the idols that had been re­cov­ered so far from the smug­glers. He said that the HR&CE depart­ment could be di­rected to pro­vide the cam­eras which would be re­turned af­ter the com­ple­tion of the work. In his sub­mis­sions, Mr. Ra­jen­dran said that a directive should be is­sued to hand­i­craft man­u­fac­tur­ers to hence­forth in­scribe the date of man­u­fac­tur­ing on the idols so that in­ter­na­tional idol smug­glers could be pre­vented from tak­ing away pre­cious and an­cient idols, stolen from In­dian tem­ples, to other coun­tries through false claims of be­ing new hand­i­craft prod­ucts.

The judge agreed to con­sider the sug­ges­tion and pass suit­able or­ders dur­ing the next hear­ing. In so far as the pe­ti­tioner’s plea for pro­vid­ing po­lice pro­tec­tion to him was con­cerned, the judge di­rected the po­lice of­fi­cials to look into his re­quest in the light of the threats re­ceived by him. Later, the case was posted for hear­ing af­ter 3 weeks.

FILE PHOTO ■

Time for ac­tion: The court asked the HR&CE chief to en­sure that all in­fras­truc­tural re­quire­ments of Pon Man­ick­avel, head of Idol Wing CID, are ad­dressed.

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