Kanchi Seer Cleared of Auditor Assault, Hostile Approver, Death of Accused Influenced Verdict
CHENNAI: After 13 years of prolonged trial, Kanchi mutt Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi was on Friday acquitted in the auditor Radhakrishnan assault case. It was one of two major criminal cases filed against the seer in the 2000s. In 2013, he was acquitted in the sensational Sankararaman murder case by a Puducherry court.
The 80-year old seer walked into the first additional sessions court here barefoot clutching his stick tightly. He was surrounded by members of his entourage as he waited for the judge to arrive. Judge P Rajamanickam briefly read out the verdict pronouncing all the nine accused as acquitted. Ravi Subramaniam, the approver in both the Sankararaman murder case and the present case, though he subsequently turned hostile, may be tried again separately in the case. Public prosecutor N Vijayaraj had filed a petition seeking cancellation of the pardon granted to him for turning approver. The judge said the prosecutor’s petition against Ravi Subramaniam will be heard separately.
After the verdict was pronounced, Jayendra Saraswathi seemed relieved as he broke into a smile and was quickly escorted out of the court by his disciples.
While the reasons for the acquittal are as yet not clear since the judgment copy is not available, public prosecutor in the case N Vijayaraj said the death of two of the 11 accused and the approver turning hostile could be the factors.
He told Express that he would recommend to the government to appeal against the verdict. The verdict can be challenged within 60 days.
However, defence counsel K M Subramaniam said the prosecution could not find any proper evidence which resulted in the delay of the trial for so many years.
The case pertains to the alleged assault of auditor Radhakrishnan, his wife Jayashree and assistant Krishnan on September 2002 in their house in Chennai. The auditor claimed the seer had planned the attack after the he raised questions about missing gold meant for the Kamakshi temple in Kancheepuram. The prosecution claimed that the seer assumed the auditor was writing letters under the psuedo-name ‘Somesekhara Ganapadigal’ highlighting irregularities in the mutt that eventually motivated the attack.
In the case which saw many twists and turns over the years, the chargesheet was filed in 2006. The seer and 10 others were booked on charges of conspiracy and attempt to murder.
Two of the accused died during trial.
Though the Radhakrishnan assault case took place two years prior to Sankararaman’s murder (September 2004), investigations into the assault gathered momentum only after the arrest of Jayendra Saraswathi in November 2004 in the murder case.
what the case was all about
The case pertained to an assault by a gang on Sept 20, 2002, on S Radhakrishnan, erstwhile auditor of the Kanchi Sankara mutt, at his Chennai home, following a criminal conspiracy by the accused persons, who believed he wrote letters in the fictitious name of Somasekhara Ganapadigal highlighting irregularities in the mutt.