The Madras High Court bench here on Friday impleaded the Joint Commissioner of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department as a respondent to a petition filed alleging that an emerald lingam (phallic object symbolising Lord Shiva) had gone missing from the Madurai Corporation’s treasury.

Justice N.Kirubakaran impleaded the HR and CE official, seeking him to explain whether the emerald lingam was kept at Kunnathur Chathiram near Sri Meenkshi Temple here, whether it was sent to the Corporation treasury in 2009 during the renovation of the chathiram and why the lingam was not sent to the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple during the renovation.

The chathiram was managed by the temple authorities, submitted the counsel who appeared on behalf of the Corporation.

The petitioner, S.Muthukumar, an advocate, alleged in his petition that the priceless artefact had gone missing after it was removed from the chathiram and sent to the Corporation’s treasury.

He claimed that the Corporation officials did not respond to an RTI query filed by the priest, who performed pujas to the lingam, seeking its whereabouts in 2010.

The Tallakulam police received the petitioner’s complaint on August 27, 2013 to trace the missing lingam, but did not register an FIR, Mr.Muthukumar alleged in his petition.

On the summons of the court, Corporation Commissioner R.Nandagopal appeared before the judge and submitted that a six-member panel comprising Corporation officials had been constituted to look into the petitioner’s claims.

Justice Kirubakaran adjourned the case till September 23 with a direction to the Corporation Commissioner to submit a report on the findings of the panel before the court.

More In: Madurai