Tamil Nadu

Retired IG Ponn Manickavel to continue as Idol Wing head: HC

A recent photo of IG Ponn Manickavel inspecting the idols that were recovered from a businessman's house.  

In a dramatic turn of events, the Madras High Court appointed Inspector General of Police A.G. Ponn Manickavel, who retired on Friday, as a Special Officer for a year so that he could continue to head the Idol Wing-Criminal Investigation Department.

Justices R. Mahadevan and P.D. Audikesavulu passed the order a day after the State upgraded the post of chief of Idol Wing to the rank of Additional Director General of Police and posted Abhay Kumar Singh as Mr. Manickavel’s successor.

The judges held that the appointment of another officer by the State would become redundant in view of their order. They made it clear that the officer appointed by the court would be the head of the Idol Wing for the next year.

The court ordered that the retired IG, during his tenure as Special Officer, would continue to draw the same pay and benefits drawn by him at the time of retirement. He would investigate all pending as well as future idol theft cases in the State and file periodical status reports before the High Court in sealed covers.

The CBI and other Central agencies were ordered to provide necessary assistance to the Idol Wing-CID in recovering ancient idols from other States and abroad. The government was also restrained from taking any kind of action against the Special Officer or his team members without the court’s nod.

Further, in an attempt to ensure that the functions of the Idol Wing were not curtailed for want of funds, the court directed the government to create a separate account and a separate division to handle the financial aspects related to the functioning of the wing and ensure that no action was delayed for want of funds.

“All the directions issued by this court shall be implemented without any delay or demur and a report shall be submitted after six weeks regarding the action taken,” the judges said. They also observed that the August 1 GO was passed in a hurry only after Mr. Manickavel arrested a handful of officials belonging to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department.

The judges ordered the State government to issue a circular instructing the HR&CE Department to extend its fullest cooperation to the Idol Wing and furnish necessary particulars and documents sought by the investigating agency.

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Printable version | Oct 13, 2021 12:21:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ponn-manickavel-shall-continue-to-head-idol-theft-wing-hc/article25632333.ece

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