Chennai: The Madras High Court passed an order extending the service of Mr. Ponn Manickavel Inspector General of Police, after he retired on Friday directing him to be the Special Officer for a year to continue to head the Idol Wing-Criminal Investigation Department.
A day after the state appointed Mr.Abhay Kumar Singh in his place as Additional Director General of Police, the Justices of the Madras High Court R. Mahadevan and P.D. Audikesavulu passed the order. The state made an alteration in designation by upgrading the post of Chief of Idol Wing to the rank of Additional Director General of Police.
The judges maintained that the state should not appoint another officer and made it clear that the officer appointed by the court would be the head of the Idol Wing for the next year.
According to the court order the retired IG, during his period in office as Special Officer, would continue to draw the same salary and benefits drawn by him at the time of retirement. The officer would investigate all pending as well as future idol theft cases in the State and file periodical status reports before the High Court in sealed covers.
The court order directs the Central Agencies and the CBI to provide necessary assistance to the Idol Wing-CID in recovering ancient idols from other States of the country and abroad. The court also imposed restrictions on the government stating that it could not take any kind of action against the Special Officer or his team members without the court’s permission.
Furthermore in an attempt to ensure that the functions of the Idol Wing were not restricted for need of funds, the court directed the government to open a separate account and a separate division to handle the financial aspects related to the functioning of the wing and ensure that no action was delayed due to lack of funds.
The judges said that all the directions issued by this court shall be implemented without any delay or demur and a report shall be submitted after six weeks regarding the action taken. The judges also observed that the August 1 GO was passed in a hurry only after Mr. Manickavel arrested a handful of officials belonging to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department.
The judges also ordered the State government to issue a circular instructing the HR&CE Department to extend its fullest cooperation to the Idol Wing and furnish necessary particulars and documents sought by the investigating agency.