Ex-chief of HR&CE gets bail, asked to pay Rs 10,000

Chennai: The Madras high court on Thursday granted bail to M.Veerashanmugamoni, former Commissioner of HR & CE, who was arrested by the Idol Wing police on March 15 in connection with alleged irregularities in replacing the 1600 years old Panchalokam Somaskandar Idol and the antique Panchalokam Ealavaarkulali Amman idol from the Ekambareshwarar Sivan temple in Kancheepuram.

Justice N.Anand Venkatesh granted bail to Veerashamugamoni on the condition that he should execute a bond for Rs 10,000 with two sureties each for a like sum and he shall report before the Inspector of Police, Sivakanchi police station, Kancheepuram as and when required.

The judge recalled that petitioner Veerashanmugamoni was the Commissioner of HR & CE during the relevant point of time. He had granted approval for the installation of the idols based on the proposal sent by the temple authorities, after the same was scrutinised by the Executive Officer and the Additional Commissioner. Also, the petitioner was in charge of nearly 38, 000 temples in his capacity as the Commissioner of HR & CE, and granted the approval which was purely administrative in nature, the judge said.

The judge noted that the gold to the tune of 8.7 kgs which works out to nearly 2.82 crore in the year 2015, was said to be missing from the panchaloka idols and that was now a subject matter of investigation. The petitioner has already suffered incarceration for more than 13 days and the police have also taken police custody of him for questioning, the judge added.

He said taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances and also taking into consideration the position that was held by the petitioner and the incarceration already suffered by him, the court was of the view that bail can be granted in this case.

It was also seen that the Additional Commissioner who was also arrested by the police in the very same case was also granted bail by this court on August 7, 2018, the judge pointed out. 

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