Devaswom to help woman who once helped crack idol theft case

Devaswom to help woman who once helped crack idol theft case
After the thief was caught, Ramani became a star among the temple-goers.
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Kottayam: The Travancore Devaswom Board, with the help of devotees, is set to build a house for Ramani who had helped police crack the sensational Ettumanoor idol theft case three decades ago.

Devaswom board president A Padmakumar, who visited the Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple on Sunday, revealed this to Manorama Online.

The temple theft case had left the then Nayanar government and the cops in a spot. After helping the cops with a vital clue that eventually helped in nabbing the idol thief and becoming a star among devotees, Ramani had vanished. It was Manorama Online that traced her after all these years and reported about her poor living conditions.

Padmakumar added that the board is considering if it can provide a temporary job for Ramani. He added that MLA, C K Hareendran, had brought to his notice the case of Ramani following which the devaswom has made the announcements. The Ettumanoor temple advisory committee too has come forward to offer help to Ramani.

Ramani is now living at Kiliyoor junction in Thiruvananthapuram district. A widow, she survives on the rural employment guarantee scheme.

The idol of the well-known Mahadeva temple was stolen on May 25, 1981. The paper used for packing the crowbar that Stephen used for breaking open the temple turned out to be a key evidence in the case. The paper found by the cops had the name of Ramani and the address of her school. The probe to find how the book sold by a student from the southernmost part of the state, Parassala, reached the Ettumanoor temple took the cops to the shop to which Ramani sold the book to Stephen.

After the thief was caught, Ramani became a star among the temple-goers. The temple authorities brought her to Ettumanoor and felicitated her. Devotees showered her with gifts. The temple committee provided her Rs 10,000 for her education. Gradually, like every news item, Ramani was forgotten. After his jail term, Stephen turned to spirituality and once again hogged news headlines, but Ramani stood away from the media glare. Later, Ramani was found during Manorama Online's enquiries for a report on the temple theft.

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