Idol wing of TN police struggles due to lack of manpower

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The elite idol wing of the Tamil Nadu CB-CID is struggling as cases are mounting up with less manpower for the unit. The unit has in the past years recovered stolen antiques worth Rs 100 crore and the number of cases is mounting.

The idol wing has recently arrested the owner of a major antique chain headquartered in Chennai and spread in major cities of the country for selling stolen antique idols worth crores of rupees.

After his arrest, the wing got information on certain old cases of temple theft but the lack of manpower is hindering further investigations into the case.

Several cases of idol theft are to be investigated from outside the country especially in Europe and US, and for this, the wing requires officers in the ranks of Additional Superintendents of Police and Deputy Superintendents of police for the investigation process.

Highly placed sources in the idol wing told IANS that there was a dearth of officers of such ranks in the wing and the special CB-CID unit of the idol wing has already petitioned the DGP for induction of new manpower into the team.

According to information available, the strength of the idol wing has come down to 135 from the earlier 350 people in the wing and this has totally curtailed much of the activities of the wing.

The Idol Wing of the state police is functioning under an Additional Director General of Police and investigates cases related to the theft of idols that are more than 100 years old. The wing investigates the case if the value of the idol or antique stolen is Rs 5 lakh and above.

Another major issue being faced by the wing is that the arrested culprits have to be produced at the special court in Kumbakonam which is far away from the headquarters and the lack of manpower is affecting this also.

Most of the officers who are serving the idol wing are drawn from various departments and after their promotion, they are reverted to their respective sections leading to a vacuum in the team of the idol wing.

A senior officer with the idol wing told IANS: “The investigation, of course, can be under the ADGP but new officers in the level of DSP and ASP have to be posted in the wing for a period not less than five years and this helps in bringing to light several cases and also to recover the stolen properties that are smuggled out of the country and with major auctioneers.

“We have to be one step ahead to bring the stolen property to be recovered and those in this trade are powerful hence we need to have proper documentation and background research to book them and to have a foolproof case. For this proper trained and experienced manpower is required.”

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