A group of industrialists from Tamil Nadu has come out in support of TVS Motor Co Chairman Venu Srinivasan, who has filed for anticipatory bail in the idol theft case, due to fears that an FIR has been filed against him in the case. They released a statement on Wednesday, and signatories include T Kannan, Managing Director of Thiagarajar Mills; NM Manickam, Managing Director of Sakthi Sugars; MM Murugappan, chairman of Murugappa group; Sanjay Jayavarthanavelu, chairman of LMW group in Coimbatore; PR Venketrama Raja, chairman of Ramco group; Vijay Sankar, vice chairman of Sanmar group; and Vinod Dasari, CEO of Ashok Leyland.
The statement said, âWe are deeply pained by the news of Mr Venu Srinivasan being named in an FIR in the Kapaleeswarar Temple matter. As an elder statesman and as one of the most philanthropic of industrialists in South India, his work in the social and religious fields are widely known and documented.â
The statement also spoke of the TVS honchoâs contribution to rural upliftment. âWe have always admired the foresight with which he combined Temple restoration with rural upliftment. His efforts at adding to the income of rural families through gainful employment of women is probably one of the best models of social development,â the statement said.
Further, the statement questioned the continuation of philanthropic activities in an âatmosphere vilified by by fake charges.â
They said, âMany of our Companies have in their own ways contributed to similar efforts all across Tamil Nadu and by following his example and have seen almost immediate improvement in both temple upkeep and the development of surrounding areas. We are now forced to ask ourselves the question if we would be bold enough to undertake such activities in an atmosphere vilified by fake charges and possible public humiliation. It would be a deterrent for the industrial community to engage in social welfare programs or restoration of ancient heritage buildings including temples. We want to make our concern known to the authorities, media and the public.â
The statement also called for urgent government intervention.
Hours after the Madras High ordered investigations into the alleged theft of idols and other antiquities from two temples â the Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple (Srirangam temple) in Trichy, and the Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore, Chennai- Venu Srinivasan applied for anticipatory bail on âreasonable apprehensionâ of arrest.
In his bail application, Srinivasan referred to a writ petition filed by one Elephant G Rajendran.
Venu Srinivasan said that in paragraph 12 of an affidavit submitted in support of his petition, Rajendran mentioned that an FIR had been filed against him. Venu Srinivasan said he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the famed Srirangam Temple and that he had spent Rs 25 crore from his own pocket for the renovation of the entire holy complex.
He said Rs 70 lakh was also spent by him on painting works at Sri Kabaleeswarar temple in the heart of Chennai.
The industrialist also said that a private trust funded by him and his company had undertaken renovation of over 100 temples in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan, CPI leader Mutharasan, and MDMK founder Vaiko have also come out in support of the industrialist.
Read: Explainer: Why TVS boss Venu Srinivasan wants anticipatory bail in idol theft case