As the tenure of Pon Manickavel, the Inspector General of Police of the Idol Wing comes to an end on Friday, the Tamil Nadu government has appointed Abhay Kumar Singh, IPS as his successor. He has been appointed as the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of the Idol Wing after the state government issued an order upgrading the post of Inspector General. Abhay Kumar Singh is the present Chief Vigilance Officer of Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited (TNPL). He was previously the IG and ACP of Traffic until he was transferred to TNPL in 2017.
A 1992-batch IPS officer, Abhay Kumar Singh is a native of Bihar and has served in various capacities in Tamil Nadu police. He has previously held the posts of the IG of South Zone, Additional Commissioner of Police in Chennai City, Commissioner of Police in Tirunelveli city, Deputy IG in Ramanathapuram and Superintendent of Police of Madurai.
Idol Wing IG Pon Manickavel superannuated on Friday after 6 years of service in the Idol Wing. A 1989-batch police officer, he was known for having busted international idol smuggling rackets and conducting raids on high profile people. Though Tamil Nadu government attempted to halt the investigation of Pon Manickavel by first shunting him out to Railway Police Force and then transferring the idol theft cases under his investigation to CBI, the Madras HC intervened on both occasions, retaining the probe under Pon Manickavel.
On July 21, the Madras High Court ordered that all cases in Tamil Nadu related to the smuggling of antique idols be investigated by IG Pon Manickavel. The Tamil Nadu government transferred all the cases related to idol smuggling to CBI on August 1 claiming that since the smuggled idols are located across the world, it would be easier for the CBI to work on them. Many petitions were filed in the Madras HC against this action by the state government by persons including advocate Elephant G Rajendiran and activist Traffic Ramasamy. The court, on August 7, heard these petitions and granted an interim stay on the order of the state government transferring the cases to CBI, effectively retaining the probe under Pon Manickavel.
Recently, IG Pon Manickavel was in the news after he conducted raids in the houses of the founder of Prakriti Foundation and Chennai-based businessman Ranvir Shah and businesswoman Kiran Rao.