SC refuses to stay HC extension to top cop Pon Manickavel

Chennai: The Supreme Court today refused to stay a Madras High Court order granting one-year extension to senior police officer Pon Manickavel to continue the probe into idol smuggling cases.

When a petition filed by the Tamilnadu government, which shifted the cases to CBI, against the extension given to Pon Manickavel came up for hearing, a bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice L Nageswara Rao refused to stay the High Court order.

In its argument, the State government said it transferred the case to CBI since there were international links in the racket.

Recently, as a shot in the arm for Pon Manickavel, on the day of his retirement, the High Court appointed him as special officer for one more year.

In addition to this, a special division bench of Justice R Mahadevan and Justice P D Audikesavulu struck down the State government’s decision to transfer idol cases to the CBI, terming the intentions behind this decision as mala fide.

Speaking to mediapersons after the court verdict, Manickavel said he would complete the probe within a year and submit the report in a sealed cover to the court.

Manickavel was posted to the Idol Wing in 2012. Under his leadership, the wing recovered 1,129 stolen idols worth hundreds of crores of rupees. During the period that he headed the wing, the team was constantly in the news following the arrest of idol smuggler Subhash Kapoor.

Pon Manickavel, during his six-year term, has dealt with high-profile cases and arrested idol smugglers Kapoor and Deenadayalan and brought home more than 1,000 idols. He had also conducted legal proceedings against some government officials.

In view of Manickavel’s superannuation, the Tamilnadu government appointed Abhay Kumar Singh as his successor.

NT Bureau