A Special Camp Office of the Inspector General of Police, Idol Wing CID, has been formed at Tiruchi on the direction of the Madras High Court.
The Special Camp Office will function at the District Armed Reserve Ground here with officers and policemen drawn from various districts to augment the manpower to probe pending idol theft and burglary cases and expedite trial in courts.
Headed by IG Pon Manickavel, the Special Camp Office has been provided with seven additional superintendents of police and 10 deputy superintendents of police, besides 18 inspectors, 50 sub-inspectors and around 125 men, said Idol Wing sources.
One of the main objectives of forming the special camp office is to expedite trial in 363 cases relating to theft and burglary of temple idols which has been transferred to the Kumbakonam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Thanjavur district on the direction of the High Court, said the sources.
The wing would also take necessary steps to prevent illegal export of antique idols stolen from temples in the State to foreign art galleries and evolve appropriate mechanism to safeguard the idols in around 36,000 temples coming under the control of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department. Police sources said being in the central part of the State, Tiruchi would be a convenient location for the investigation teams and would suit the operational requirements.
Some of the accused allegedly involved in smuggling of antique idols including US-based antiquities dealer Subhash Chandra Kapoor and Deputy Superintendent of Police Khader Basha were lodged in the Tiruchi Central Prison.
The sources said the Special Camp Office would soon be provided with necessary basic infrastructure including computers to enable investigators to carry out their day-to-day work.
Consequent to the formation of the special office, an orientation was given to a set of police personnel who are now attached to the Idol Wing CID by Mr. Pon Manickavel here for two days.
The participating officers were told about the basic rules of investigation practice pertaining to theft and burglary of antique idols and dishonest retention of stolen property besides illegal export of idols, the sources said.
Some of the sensational cases being probed by the Idol Wing CID include the burglary of more than 20 idols from the temples in Sripuranthan and Suthamalli in Ariyalur district in which Subhash Chandra Kapoor, and a few others were arrested.