4000 plus year old ''Navapashana'' idol of Palani temple, TN - culprits confirmed they had a plan to steal the herbal idol!!

Karthikaya (Muruga) temple, Palani, TNsankarayatra.com
In South India, among a few Hindu temples that attract the most number of pilgrims, The Thandayathapani Temple, Palani (100km from Coimbatore), Tamil Nadu  dedicated to God Muruga (Karthikaya) is a popular one  and devotees from Tamil Nadu  and also  from the bordering state of Kerala come here daily in large number to pray and get blessed by the god that faces the west direction.  Being an important pilgrimage center, it has hit the newspaper headlines frequently in the past several years. The  sensational  media scoops do not cover anything related to divinity, it is about the conspiracy that had been going on for sometime  to steal the main Navabhasana idol (moolavar) of god Muruga and the mismanagement going on at this famous temple.
Thieves. dreamstime.com
The  main idol in the sanctum has been in the center of controversy  and is being investigated by the special Police force. What is so special about this idol of Muruga? It is neither made of special stone nor an alloy of five metals, including gold. It is a rare one in India made of processed herbs what is called  Navapashanam - nine poisonous elements from herbs, etc  available on the hills here.  The poison is eliminated as much as possible by a special process  and the herbal mix with which the idol is made of has wonderfulful  medicinal properties that can cure many diseases.  Siddha purusha Bogar, a disciple of sage Agasthiya who lived 4000 years ago as a yogi  prepared the idol of Muruga and installed  it atop the Palani hill as per  Agama Sastra. Yet another feature is the small idol is made in a saintly posture wearing just an undergarment in the form of kowbeenam in Sanskrit (in Tamil Komanam) and a  Dhanda (pole) in one hand with his head shaven - a symbol of renunciation. 

Palani temple at night TN hindudevotionalblog.com
Prior to 1980, anointing (ritual bathing) of the moolavar idol was done frequently  and it was stopped because it is believed that this was damaging the age-old hardened herbal idol.  Though the priests claimed that there there was no sign of any damage to the idol, the officials kept saying the moolavar idol was slightly damaged, hence anointing should be avoided.  Normally, the tradition has been that it in Hindu temples, pujas should not be done to the damaged idols. Since 1984, anointing has been done only on the Urchavamurthy (procession deity) made of Iyempon (an alloy of five metals) in the sanctum. In the 1990s and 2000s serious attempts were made by certain  dishonest HR & CE officials  to replace the navapashana idol with a metal idol (Iyempon) and  there were protests from many sections of devotees. 
In the recent past some senior officials of HR & CE and the sthapathi (idol maker)  were arrested o by the special police team on charges of attempting to steal the  4000-year old Navapashana idol of God Muruga to be exported abroad. It is worth millions of dollars. Further, it was found out that the utchava murthy weighing 200kg   was made of poor quality metals. It was installed in the sanctum and later removed on account of public protest over this arbitrary action taken by the HR & CE.
God Karthikaya *Muruga) in saintly posture, Palani temple, TN sankarayatra.com
idol thief hehansindia.com
Many newspaper reports mentioned that to make a new idol, gold was collected illegally  by way of donation in peace meal  to the tune of 150 kg. The advanced chemical analysis of  the idol done by the IIT team from Madras in May 2018 on the Utchava murthy   proved that the idol was  not made of prescribed percentage of  metals. It is obvious  the officials stole a large quantity of gold collected from the gullible public. A fraud had been committed on a divine premises by the obnoxious officials. 

Palani temple, gold-plated Vimana. oommuruga.blogspot.com
Recently, it was confirmed  and the culprits (ex- HR & CE senior officers)  told the officials that  in collusion, with the idol maker,  they had a plan to remove the herbal idol to be sold abroad for a fat price. To facilitate the removal of the main idol they lied to the public that the herbal idol was damaged due to daily ritual baths done over a pretty long period of time.  Now the culprits are  already behind the bar and they are awaiting final verdict from the court.  The credit goes to police officers like Pon Manikkavel (retd.) who was appointed by the court to look into various temple idol thefts in Tamil nadu.
That idol thefts, financial irregularities and stealing of gold  are taking  place on the premises of divinity  does not augur well for the future of management of rich temples. The Court should interfere and give severe punishment to the people involved in temple idol thefts, stealing of temple properties, jewels, etc. Severe punishment will act as deterrent. Further, the honest  sr. officials keep their eyes open and watch the moves of those who have questionable integrity and honesty. Stealing things from the sanctified places is a blasphemous act and the culprits will face severe consequences for their despicable acts.