Madras HC stays shifting of idol smuggling cases to CBI

By NT Bureau Published on Aug 07, 2018 02:02 PM IST

DGP Pon Manickavel

Chennai: The Madras High Court has ordered an interim stay on the government transferring the idol theft and smuggling cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The stay was granted by a special bench comprising judges R Mahadevan and P D Adhikesavalu while hearing a petition filed by advocate and activist 'Elephant' Rajendran.

In his petition, Rajendran said the court last year ordered the government to frame 21 rules to prevent idol smuggling in temples. However this has not been implemented yet, he stated.

"It was this court which asked Idol Wing IG Pon Manickavel to investigate the idol smuggling cases. Now, as an insult to the court, the government has transferred this case to CBI and has even issued a GO," he said.

Responding to this, government counsel Arvind Pandian said the CBI will not interfere in the pending cases.

"It was a policy decision to shift this case to CBI. Only those cases with FIR will be investigated by the investigation bureau," he said.

File photo of Madras High Court.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the judges questioned why the 21 rules were not framed yet.

"On 1 August, police DGP wrote a letter to the government seeking the transfer of this case to CBI and within a day, the GO was issued. Why this urgency was not shown in implementing the court's order? When the case is still pending in court, how can it can be transferred to CBI? This is contempt of court and all the officials involved are answerable," they said.

Aravind said he will respond to these questions tomorrow following which the case was adjourned.

The government had recently told the court that it has decided to transfer the idol smuggling case from the Idol Wing of the police to the CBI. The government order regarding this was passed the next day.

Ordering an interim stay on transferring the case to CBI, the court sent notices to the Tamilnadu government and DGP.