Sankararaman Case : Kanchi Sankaracharyas acquitted
Nov 27 12:14 2013
A Puducherry court on Wednesday, released all accused including Kanchi seers Jayendra Saraswathi, 78, and Vijayendra Saraswathi, 44 in the case of murder of A Sankararaman, manager of the Sri Varadharajaswamy temple.
A Sankararaman, was found murdered on September 3, 2004, who leveled charges of financial misconduct against the Kanchi seers.
He was supposed to have been murdered by an armed gang. The Kanchi seers were charged with criminal conspiracy, confusing the court by giving false information, criminal trespass and supply of funds to carry out the criminal activity.
On November 11, 2004 the Tamil Nadu police arrested the senior seer, from Mehboobnagar in Andhra Pradesh. The junior seer was arrested on January 10, 2005. The arrests evoked extensive uproar from pro-Hindu parties and outfits.
During the previous tenure of J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK, the murder and arrests took place. Police arrested 22 others, including the mutt manager and junior seer’s brother. Though, the senior seer was approved bail on January 10, 2005.
The junior seer also got bail on February 10 the same year. M Kathiravan, one of the accused, was murdered in March this year. Following a special leave petition the Supreme Court in October, 2005, transferred the case from a Chengalpet court to the Puducherry court, which claimed that the atmosphere in the state was not helpful for a fair and free trial. To replace prosecutors from Tamil Nadu, the apex court also ordered meeting of a special prosecutor from Puducherry to conduct the trial. The Puducherry principal district and Sessions Court began the trail in November, 2005.
Four judges including M Chinapandi, D Krishnaraja, T Ramasamy and C S Murugan had heard the trial that lasted for eight years. The Madras high court stayed the trial from August, 2011, to February, 2012, following an appeal alleging that the key accused had attempted to manipulate the judgment. The court had directed a district judge to conduct an inquiry into the allegations. The inquiry report was submitted by the judge to the registrar general (vigilance), who in turn submitted the report to the administrative committee including seven judges. The court lifted the stay on the trial in the Puducherry court based on the inquiry findings and later transferred the then principal district sessions judge, T Ramasamy, who was trying the case, to Perambalur and posted Murugan in his place.
Under various IPC sections including 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 120-B R/W 302 a total of 24 persons (now 23) were charged as accused, while Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra were cited as A-1 and A-2 respectively.
Under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 120-B and 109 (abetment) the first six among the accused were charged. Of the 24 accused, Kathiravan was murdered in March this year at K K Nagar here.
Anand Sharma, Sankararaman’s son, had also filed a note that he had no objection for the delivery of the verdict and also gave up his earlier demand in August this year for audio and video recordings of proceedings of the case.
The prosecution and defence counsels examined and re-examined as many as 187 witnesses. Eighty-two witnesses and a lone approver, Ravi Subramanian, turned hostile.
Inputs from Tv Reports