TN opposition leaders criticise decision to transfer idol theft cases to CBI

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Chennai, Aug 2 (IANS) Leaders of various political parties on Thursday criticised Tamil Nadu government’s decision to hand over idol theft cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), calling it a ploy to delay the investigation.

DMK leader M.K. Stalin in a statement here said it seems there is a hidden agenda behind the move. The investigation in these cases is overseen by the Madras High Court.

Stalin said the Madras High Court had issued about 20 directives with regard to investigation of idol theft cases including the appointment of Inspector General Pon Manickavel as the head of the probe team.

Stalin said the state government appealed to the Supreme Court against the High Court order. The apex court rejected the state government’s plea.

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The DMK leader charged that the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department did not extend cooperation to the idol theft investigation team headed by Pon Manickavel.

“The government transferred Pon Manickavel without the permission of the Madras High Court,” Stalin said.

On Wednesday the government told the High Court it has taken a policy decision to transfer the idol theft cases to CBI.

Stalin said the decision to transfer the idol theft probe to CBI shows the incompetence of the state government which had opposed the demand to pass on the gutka case to CBI.

MDMK Chief Vaiko urged the Tamil Nadu government to allow Pon Manickavel to continue the probe.

Vaiko wondered why the government is keen to change the probe team head and to protect whom.

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PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss said the state government’s move is to provide an escape route to the culprits.

Ramadoss said several officials of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department have been arrested in the idol theft cases.

–IANS

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