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MADURAI: With the Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam factions of AIADMK staking claim on handling the golden armour of Muthuramalinga Thevar for the upcoming Thevar Jayanthi, the Madras high court on Wednesday ruled that the district revenue officers (DRO) of Madurai and Ramanathapuram will handle it in the interest of maintaining law and order.

Justice V Bhavani Subbaroyan directed Madurai DRO R Sakthivel and caretaker of Thevar memorial, Gandhi Meenal, to receive the golden armour from the bank and hand it over to Ramanathapuram DRO. It would be the responsibility of Ramanathapuram DRO to safeguard the armour and redeposit it in the bank after the celebration , the bench said.

The court passed the order while hearing a petition filed by AIADMK leader Dindigul C Srinivasan seeking permission to operate the bank account and custody of the armour. Objecting to this, O Panneerselvam had filed an impleading petition.

Former CM J Jayalalithaa as AIADMK chief had presented the 13-kg armour worth 3.5 crore to the thevar statue in 2014. It is deposited at the Bank of India, Anna Nagar branch in Madurai. The usual practice was for the AIADMK treasurer to collect it from the bank, hand it over to the pooja committee which would return it to him after the event to be deposited back in the bank.

Following Wednesday’s court order, Madurai DRO R Sakthivel and Gandhi Meenal collected the armour from the bank in the evening. The two left for Pasumpon later to hand it over to Ramanathapuram DRO. The Gurupooja is to be held from October 28 to 30.

Thereafter, the committee members would hand over the armour on November 1 to be safely deposited in the bank. Panneerselvam, as party treasurer, used to col lect the armour till last year. However, with OPS and EPS now at loggerheads, the matter has come before the court again.

Both factions had tried to convince the trustee to recognise them as the rightful authority to handle the armour. The trustee told the court that they would abide by its ruling in this imbroglio.

Meanwhile, Madurai district superintendent of police R Shiva Prasad has warned that anyone violating the restrictions imposed in connection with the death anniversary functions of Maruthu Pandiyar brothers and Thevar Jayanthi will face stern action.

The death anniversary of Maruthu Pandiyar brothers is set to be commemorated on October 27 and 29 while Thevar Jayanthi gurupooja will be held at Pasumpon village in Ramanathapuram district on October 30. The SP told reporters that more than 2,000 police personnel will be deployed for bandobust in Madurai district.





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