Seer has confessed to murder, TN tells HC
Chennai, November 29
Opposing the bail petition of the seer, Public Prosecutor K. Doraiswamy told the court that Sri Jayendra Saraswati while in police custody from November 19 to 22 had confessed to having ordered the murder of former Vardarajan Perumal temple official, Sankararaman. Mr Justice R. Balasubramanium, after hearing both sides, adjourned the case for tomorrow.
The packed High Court witnessed high drama, including heated exchanges between the prosecution and the defence counsel, which constantly blamed the media for holding the Hindu pontiff guilty before he was tried by a court of law.
There was a stunned silence in the court-room when Mr Doraiswamy narrated the sequence of events after the Kancheepuram Judicial Magistrate remanded the seer to three-day police custody on November 19.
The Shankaracharya was arrested by the Tamil Nadu police from Mehboobnagar in Andhra Pradesh on November 11 and remanded in 15-day judicial custody on charges of murdering Sankararaman.
Mr Doraiswamy told the court that confronted with material evidence the police asked pointed questions to the seer and during one of the sessions he broke down and confessed to his crime.
He said the seer was composed on his first day in police custody and vehemently denied knowing Appu, who had allegedly organised the contract killers.
When the investigating team showed him photographs of Appu prostrating before the seer, the Shankaracharya reportedly said that thousands of people offered “pushpanjali” to him everyday.
The second day the police asked him about the main assailant, Kathiravan, but the seer again denied having known any such man.
The investigators immediately changed their tactics and showed him copies of Appu’s mobile bills which indicated that he had called the seer on his personal mobile many times.
A stunned seer asked whether Appu had been arrested to which the police replied in the affirmative.
This was the final blow for Sri Jayendra Saraswati who then broke down and while sobbing told the investigators that for a brief 10 minutes he had lost his composure and erred in judgement.
He had told an aide at the Kanchi Mutt to stop Sankararaman from tarnishing his image through pamphlets at any cost and that led to the murder.
The Shankaracharya also admitted paying huge sums to the contract killers but they asked for more blackmailing him to which he succumbed.
The Hindu pontiff then pleaded with the investigators to allow him to talk to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. His appeal was tape-recorded and he was told that the cassette would be forwarded to the Chief Minister.
In his appeal, the seer compared Ms. Jayalalithaa to Kanchi temple deity Kamakshi (Goddess Lakshmi) and admitted having committed the crime in one weak moment and asked her to forgive him for which he would remain grateful for life.
The prosecution made another startling submission before the court about a mystery woman, Usha from Srirangam in Trichy district who too was involved in the murder case and had now gone underground.