Idol smuggling arrest: Court asks some tough questions

By NT Bureau Published on Aug 03, 2018 07:17 PM IST

Chennai: The Madras High Court today gave the government time till Monday to submit the documents that support the arrest of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) Additional Commissioner M Kavitha.

She was arrested on charges of pocketing money and gold collected as donations for making idols for Sri Ekambareswarar Temple in Kanchipuram in 2015. Kavitha's counsel Ramesh, who moved the court for bail, said no summons was issued to his client.

“She is a high official of IAS rank and her name was also not mentioned in the FIR. She has been arrested based on a statement given by an accused. This seems more like a personal revenge,” he said.

Responding to this, judges R Mahadevan and P D Adhikesavalu asked government advocate Emiliyaas why the arrest was made without issuing summons.

File photo of arrested official Kavitha.

Emiliyaas sought time to answer this question and requested the hearing to be postponed to Monday.

Idol Wing IG Pon Manickavel, who was in the court, said there is proper evidence for Kavitha's involvement in the case and said he was ready to submit it.

The judges said Kavitha, who is hospitalised, can continue her treatment and the decision on the bail plea will be taken after the hearing on Monday.

WHY CBI?

Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said the case was transferred to CBI because it had international links.

“There is no hidden motive behind this,” he added.

Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture Minister K Pandiarajan also said Pon Manickavel did not submit any report regarding the investigation in the past one year which is why the government on its own came forward and transferred the case to CBI for transparent investigation.

In a related development, social activist Traffic Ramaswamy today approached the court and appealed against the transfer of the idol smuggling case to CBI. The judges have agreed to hear the case if Ramaswamy files it as a petition.