TN police begin Palani idol 'theft' case investigation

Palani (Tamilnadu): The Idol Wing of Tamilnadu police today started a probe into the alleged irregularities in the making of an idol for the famous Dhandayuthapani Swamy temple here, in 2004.

The idol theft smuggling prevention wing IG, Pon Manickavel, interrogated the present joint commissioner of HR and CE Department, Selvaraj, in this connection, the police said.

Those involved in the making of the idol would also be questioned, they said.

According to temple sources, nearly 200 kg of gold had been received for making the idol of the presiding deity, Lord Muruga.

During a recent inspection of the new idol, a team of metallurgists from IIT-M found that it was sculpted without the specified quantities including the gold.

The experts concluded that there was a vast difference between the weight of gold used in making the idol and what had been accounted for.

There were also complaints regarding "donor-sponsored articles given to some of the big temples in the State," and details were being collected, the police said.

On 25 March, renowned sculptor Muthiah Sthapathi and a former temple executive officer K K Raj were arrested in Chennai and Coimbatore, in this connection.