Less than a week after the Madras High Court appointed Inspector General Pon Manickavel as Special Officer of the Idol Wing on the day of his superannuation, the Tamil Nadu government has challenged the order in the Supreme Court.
Filing a Special Leave Petition before the apex court on Tuesday, the Tamil Nadu government has expressed its opposition to the courtâ€™s quashing of a government order that transferred all cases of the Idol Wing to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The controversial case posed an awkward situation when the Tamil Nadu government appointed Abhay Kumar Singh, IPS, as then Idol Wing chief's successor. The special division bench of Justice R Mahadevan and Justice P D Audikesavulu that struck down the state government's decision, however, made it clear that Pon Manickavel would continue to head the team of officers of the Idol Wing for a period of one year.
Taking objection to the August 1, 2018 government order transferring Idol Wing cases to the CBI, the Madras High Court termed the state government's intentions as 'mala fide.' The court refused to accept that this was merely a policy decision of the government.
Advocate Elephant Gajendran who has been closely involved with cases of idol smuggling and was present in court on the day of Pon Manickavelâ€™s special appointment, told media persons, "Several government authorities and millionaires are involved in idol wing cases. The state government was trying to protect them all, that is why they shifted the case to the CBI. The court has now directed the CBI to also aid Pon Manickavel in investigations."
In his six years as chief of the Idol Wing, the IG has made some high profile arrests of idol smugglers such as Ubash Kapoor and Deenadayalan. He has also prosecuted officials of the Idol Wing who he suspected of connivance with political bosses and smugglers.