Two held in connection with TN temple idol case

Palani: The Idol Wing police yesterday arrested two persons in connection with the alleged conspiracy to replace the main idol at the famous hill shrine of Lord Muruga here.

Former assistant commissioner of Sri Dhandayuthapaniswamy temple Pugazhendi and jewel assessor Devendiaran were arrested in connection with the alleged Panchaloka Murugan idol scam for which 200 kg of gold was collected as donation, police said.

The two were held after their involvement in the scandal came to light during interrogation. A team of professors from the Metallurgy department of IIT-Madras inspected the idol of Lord Muruga at the temple, some 120km from Madurai, for the second day today along with the other idols in the shrine's treasury.

The scam was reported in 2004 when the idol to replace the 'Navapashana' idol (made of a mixture of nine rare herbs) of Lord Muruga was made after collecting gold from devotees. It was claimed that 200 kg of gold was collected but only a small quantity was used, leading to complaints from various quarters. Earlier, sculptor M Muthiah Sthapathi and former Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department Joint Commissioner K K Raja were arrested in connection with the idol scam.