A senior official in the Directorate of Small Savings who allegedly tried to mediate the sale of two panchaloka idols was arrested by the Idol Wing CID police here on Tuesday. An agent who was in possession of the idols and his associate were also detained for interrogation.

According to police sources, a special team monitoring the activities of suspects involved in theft and sale of idols stolen from temples came across a reliable input that L. Srinivasan (49), Joint Director of Small Savings, had offered to mediate the sale of two valuable idols.

The team laid a trap and sent a decoy to strike a deal with the official. “Srinivasan agreed to arrange the sale of the panchaloka idols for Rs. 20 lakh. He took people sent by us to a place in Red Hills on Tuesday where one S. Joseph (37) and his associate S. Govindaraj (58) of Kumbakonam came with the two idols. We took custody of the three and seized the idols,” Inspector of Police (Idol Wing CID) I. Khader Basha said.


Investigation revealed that the two idols were reported stolen from a temple in Nerumbur village in Kancheepuram district in 2008. “We suspect the involvement of Srinivasan in the sale of panchaloka idols. He confessed to having attempted to mediate the sale of idols on two occasions,” Mr. Basha said.

Complaint filed

Hours ahead of Srinivasan's arrest, the Deputy Director of Small Savings lodged a complaint with the Thousand Lights police that the Joint Director and his car driver Parama Dayalan were missing.

After making enquiries, police released Dayalan, the sources said and added that Srinivasan, Deputy Secretary in the Department of Finance, is on deputation with the Directorate of Small Savings.