A Puducherry court Wednesday acquitted all the 24 accused in the high-profile Sankararaman murder case in which two seers of Kanchipuram Sankara Mutt Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra Saraswathi are the prime accused.
The judgment was delivered by Puducherry Principal District and Sessions Judge C.S. Murugan in the trial that spread over nine years.
Speaking to reporters, counsel for the two seers said the conspiracy charge against the seers has not been proved.
A.Sankararaman, who worked as a manager in the Varadarajaperumal temple in Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, was murdered inside his office in the temple Sep 3, 2004.
The two seers of Sankara Mutt in Kanchipuram – Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra Saraswathi – were cited as accused number one and two.
There were 22 other accused, including manager of Sankara Mutt N. Sundaresan, and M.K. Raghu, brother of Jayendra Saraswathi.
All the 24 were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy, abetment to the crime and other crimes.
One of the accused, M. Kathiravan was murdered in March this year here.
The case trial was shifted to Puducherry from a Chengalpet court near here on the petition from Jayendra Saraswathi, the senior seer, after he complained that the atmosphere in Tamil Nadu was not right for a free and fair trial. The Supreme Court had allowed the trial to be shifted to Puducherry in 2005.
The apex court also directed the Puducherry government to appoint its own public prosecutor on a petition from Jayendra Saraswathi.
For the trial 189 witnesses were examined between 2009 and 2012. Interestingly, 83 of them turned hostile. Even the approver, Ravi Subramaniam, turned hostile and denied his earlier statements to police.
The prosecution also examined Padma, wife of Sankararaman, and their son Anand Sharma as witnesses.