Cooperate or face suspension HC tells Idol Wing staff

The Madras High Court on Monday warned Idol Wing CID officials of suspension from service if they do not cooperate with investigations being conducted by court-appointed special officer A.G. Ponn Manickavel, a retired Inspector General of Police, and go about levelling allegations against the officer in the media.

Justices R. Mahadevan and P.D. Audikesavalu took serious note of the issue when Rangarajan Narasimhan, a complainant in a few idol theft cases of Srirangam, claimed that Idol Wing CID had virtually become defunct ever since the court on November 30 directed the State to allow Mr. Manickavel to head the wing even after retirement.

He claimed that the office used by the Idol Wing CID, before his retirement, at Guindy, was now under lock and key and some of the officials of the wing were busy giving interviews to the media, along with the accused in idol theft cases, charging the special officer of forcing them to arrest people without any material or basis.

‘Investigation paralysed’

Advocate ‘Elephant’ G. Rajendran, who was instrumental in unearthing many idol theft cases, endorsed the views of Mr. Narasimhan and contended that investigation in many cases had been paralysed because of the non-cooperation of the officials with the special officer and the government’s reluctance to provide him necessary infrastructure.

When the judges wanted to know if the submissions were true, Mr. Manickavel replied in the affirmative. He said Sunil Kumar Singh, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Economic Offences Wing, had sent an Inspector of Police to collect the keys of the Guindy office. Since then he had no place to work in Chennai.

The special officer also accused a few higher officials in the police department of instigating the idol wing officers to make baseless allegations against him. He said a Deputy Superintendent of Police in charge of investigating theft of a peacock idol from Mylapore Kapaleeswarar Temple, had not reported to duty for long.

Disturbed over such submissions, the judges said they could not accept the government not providing “even a single seat” for the special officer in Chennai. They directed him to make all his submissions in writing and directed all top law officers to be present in the court on Wednesday to explain the step-motherly treatment.

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