The Tamil Nadu Police on Friday told the Madras High Court it would not arrest TVS Chairperson Venu Srinivasan for six weeks in connection with an idol theft case, reported PTI. This came a day after Srinivasan moved the court, seeking anticipatory bail.

The division bench of Justices R Mahadevan and PD Audikesavulu asked the police to file a report in six weeks and said it would hear the case after that.

The Mylapore Police filed a First Information Report against Srinivasan, accusing him of replacing an antique peacock idol at Chennai’s Sri Kapaleeswarar temple with a new one. The matter came to light after a devotee named Rangarajan Narasimhan filed a complaint. The case was later transferred to the Crime Branch-Central Investigation Department (idol wing).

In his anticipatory bail plea, Srinivasan claimed innocence and said he had spent around Rs 70 lakh in 2004 from his own money to restore the temple. A trust funded by him and his company have undertaken renovation work in more than 100 temples in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, he added.

Srinivasan was also the chairperson of the board of trustees of Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam in Tiruchi from where several artefacts have allegedly gone missing. On Thursday, the High Court asked Inspector General of Police AG Ponn Manickavel to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the case and file a detailed report in six weeks, reported The Hindu.

Petitioner Rangarajan Narasimhan has asked for a case to be filed against Srinivasan for the alleged theft of idols, exotic doors, sculptures and unblemished granite pavements from the temple.

But the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, which has filed a counter-affidavit in the case, said none of the artefacts listed by the complainant had gone missing. It told the court that all the items were safe at the 1,000 pillar mandapam in the temple premises. The department even submitted photographs to substantiate its claim.