The State Human Rights Commission has sought a report from Idol Wing Special Officer Pon Manickavel following a complaint by former Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department, M Veera Shanmugha Moni. The former HR&CE Commissioner was arrested on March 15 and has alleged human rights violations by court-appointed officer Pon Manickavel.
The SHRC, which directed Pon Manickavel to file a report within four weeks, also asked if the arrest adhered to the guidelines framed by the Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
According to a report in the Times of India, the former HR&CE chief had alleged that Senthilmaran, the inspector who had led his arrest, had not even allowed him to answer nature's call. Veera Shanmugha Moni also alleged that his family was not alerted about his arrest and that he had been denied basic amenities during his three-day custodial interrogation. The retired official was arrested on suspicion of misappropriation of funds at the Sri Ekambareswarar temple in Kancheepuram.
According to a report in The Hindu, Veera Shanmugha Moni also alleged that when his wife was finally told about his arrest, she was given wrong information. A policeman had reportedly informed her that he was being taken to the Idol Wing's office in Guindy, when he was taken to Kumbakonam instead. ‚ÄúThe acts of the Idol Wing headed by Pon Manickavel in making unnecessary arrest in a hasty manner without due process of law only shows that he has vested interest in projecting himself as a hero, aimed only to harass me and not for the purpose of meeting the ends of justice,‚ÄĚ said the newspaper, quoting the complaint.
While the retired officer was granted bail subsequently, his arrest is not the first to raise eyebrows on the conduct of the Idol Wing chief. In December last year, the arrest of HR&CE Additional Commissioner N Thirumagal had stirred a controversy, for the official was known to cooperate with the Idol Wing investigations. The arrest was also the latest in a list of officials that the HR&CE says have been targeted by Pon Manickavel.
The HR&CE department, which has been at loggerheads with the Idol Wing, has seen multiple arrests of officials over the past couple of years and has alleged that it is being targeted by the officer.