Madurai: Police have begun investigations into the mysterious disappearance of an "Emerald Lingam", reportedly deposited in the treasury of the city corporation when the Kunnathur `Chatram`, a century-old guest house, was taken up for renovation.
Police today said the Corporation had informed an RTI (Right to Information) activist that the lingam was in their safe custody earlier. However, it did not give any reply to a query raised recently on the matter, giving room for the suspicion that the lingam had been stolen.
On a complaint from the activist Muthukumar, a case was registered and investigations launched into the matter today, police said.
The Corporation Commissioner Nandhagopal said there was no mention about the lingam in the treasury records.
"I don`t know if there was any emerald lingam. But there was a talk about it when I took over as Commissioner. But I don`t see any mention about the precious lingam in the corporation treasury records," he said.
An employee who worked at the Chatthiram, constructed by the Zamindar of Kunnathur, had also raised doubts about the safety of the lingam, and had asked in 2010 whether it was in safe custody.But the corporation reportedly did not give proper reply.
The Inn, constructed by the Zamindar for the benefit of poor pilgrims, was taken up for renovation four years ago when the Lingam was reportedly removed from its place. Several wooden sculptures with "dresses made of sandal wood" were kept in the Corporation cloak/treasury room along with the lingam, officials said.
Such emerald lingams are rare and are found in very few temples in the state.