TAMIL NADU

PSU executive held for panchaloka idol theft

Staff Reporter

TIRUNELVELI: Three persons, including a top executive of a public sector undertaking (PSU), have been arrested in connection with the theft of panchaloha idols, worth about Rs.25 lakh, from Sri Agneeswarar Temple at Rajavallipuram near here on November 27.

Speaking to reporters here on Thursday, the Inspector General of Police, South Zone, Sanjeev Kumar, said the special team, which was formed after the culprits stole 15 idols, happened to interrogate C. Murali (33) of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh, now working with a Tuticorin-based public sector enterprise, when he filed a complaint with the police that he was attacked by his driver, G. Sivakumar (30) of Pudukottai in Tuticorin district and his associates as they tried to kidnap him for ransom.

During the course of interrogation, the police found that Mr. Murali, a M.Tech. Graduate in Chemical Engineering from Osmania University, Andra Pradhesh, was the mastermind behind the theft of priceless panchaloha idols and he sustained injuries when Sivakumar and his friends - C. Kannan (31) of Srivaikundam and Kaaliraj of Vadakku Chezhiyanallur near Maanur in Tirunelveli – attacked Murali after an argument over the sharing of booty.

He reportedly admitted to committing the crime with the assistance of Sivakumar, Kannan and Kaaliraj.

The police also nabbed Sivakumar and Kannan and recovered 11 idols from them, who had abandoned two more in a secluded place close to the temple.

The special team, led by Thaazhaiyooththu ASP Rupesh Kumar Meena and the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sankarankovil, Balakrishnan, also found that Kaaliraj, Kannan and Sivakumar were involved in the theft of the ‘kalasam’ of Sri Ambalavaanar Temple, Maanur, Amman’s ‘thaali’ at Sri Muppidathiyamman Temple, Azhagiyapaandiapuram, and Sri Sundaraachiyamman Temple, Manappadaiveedu and the crown of Amman at Sri Durgai Amman Temple at Vadakku Chezhiyanallur.

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