The case of the missing emerald lingam is shrouded in mystery with the Corporation Commissioner deposing before the Madras High Court Bench here recently that there was no record of the existence of the priceless artefact in the Madurai Corporation’s treasury.
On August 30, as the case was heard by Justice N. Kirubakaran, the packed court hall witnessed high drama. Advocate W. Peter Rameshkumar, who appeared on behalf of petitioner S. Muthukumar, claimed that the lingam had been smuggled by politicians to Singapore and sold for an undisclosed amount.
He named a former Corporation Commissioner and a DMK politician as parties involved in the smuggling of the lingam when it was shifted to the Corporation’s treasury during the renovation of the Kunnathur Chathiram. The two, he said, had died ‘an unnatural death’ after smuggling the artefact and the priest who filed an RTI query to trace the lingam had disappeared soon after filing the query, he claimed.
He added that the artefact was likely to be smuggled to Belgium to be auctioned off to an international audience of bidders.
However, he did not have any record to substantiate his arguments.
Justice Kirubakaran, therefore, disregarded the counsel’s narrative relating to the charge of smuggling.
But neither the Corporation Commissioner nor the standing counsel for the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department were able to elaborate on the historical and religious significance of the emerald lingam.
The officials from the Corporation and the HR and CE Department have been directed by the court to submit their reports on September 23.