The Madras High Court on Wednesday granted anticipatory bail to TVS Motor Chairman Venu Srinivasan, who has been arrayed as a suspect in an idol theft case.
A special division bench of Justices R Mahadevan and PD Audikesavalu also granted relief to Tamil Nadu chief sthapati (sculptor) M Muthiah and former commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department P Dhanapal.
However, the court refused relief to the department's additional commissioner N Thirumagal.
The issue pertains to three missing antique idols from the famous Kapaleeshawarar Temple, Mylapore.
Based on a complaint from a devotee, claiming that idols of Rahu, Kethu, and peacock Amman were missing from the temple, the idol wing CID had registered an FIR against Srinivsan and others.
Apprehending arrest, they had moved the court, seeking anticipatory bail.
While allowing the applications moved by Srinivasan, Muthiah and Dhanapal, the bench dismissed the one moved by Thirumagal.
"Three joint commissioners of the department have given written statements confirming the direct link of Thirumagal in the missing case," the bench said.
On the destruction of documents pertaining to these idols and the 'Kumbhabhishekham' conducted in the temple in 2004, at which point the idols allegedly went missing, the court said one of the joint commissioners who deposed before the idol wing has said that Thirumagal approached the commissioner of the department, seeking permission to destroy the documents but it was rejected.
Another joint commissioner has stated that she witnessed Thirumagal destroying the documents.
When questioned, she informed the officer that the commissioner had permitted her to do so, the court said.
This apart, 'archagars' (priests) had seen Thirumagal replacing new idols in place of the antique idols and they had even refused to perform puja for the new idols, the court said while rejecting the bail plea.
Opposing the relief granted to the other three, the idol wing submitted that it would be difficult for the wing to secure the trio if during inquiry Thirumagal reveals evidence proving their involvement.
To this, the court said that under such circumstance, the wing was always at liberty to approach the court to cancel the bail granted.
"Even tomorrow you can approach us with concrete evidence and we will cancel the bail," the bench said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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