In a new twist to the Sankararaman murder case, Ravi Subramanian, who had become an approver during the course of investigation, turned hostile when he was examined by the Special Public Prosecutor at the Principal District and Sessions Court here on Thursday.
During examination by Special Public Prosecutor N. Devadass, Subramanian informed the court that he became an approver under external pressure.
He was coerced by the police to turn an approver and give statement favouring the investigation.
Contradicting all the statements made before the lower court and the police about identifying the accused, his connections with a few accused persons and his visits to the Mutt to plan the murder, Subramanian said he neither knew the accused persons nor about the murder plan. He also informed the court that the police did not seize any documents from his custody.
Following his contradictory statements, the SPP informed Principal District and Sessions Judge D. Krishnaraja that he was treating him as a hostile witness.
Subsequently, Subramanian was cross-examined by defence counsel K.S Dinakaran and Prakash.
Subramanian deposed that before he was produced in the Kancheepuram Court on December 27, 2004, he was in illegal custody for around 15 days and was harassed by then Superintendent of Police Premkumar and Additional Superintendent of Police Sakthivel.
Maintaining that the harassment caused physical and mental agony, he said his wife and children were also in police custody and harassed.
Stating the truth
Since his wife and children were in the police custody, he, out of fear, gave a statement dictated by the police before the court, Subramanian said, adding that he was now stating the truth because the officers who arrested him were not in service.
Subramanian who was first treated as an accused in the case during preliminary investigation by the police later became an approver. He was then treated as witness in the case.
More witnesses to be examined
After examination and cross-examination by the SPP and defence counsel, Mr. Krishnaraja posted the case for February 11 and 12 when around 40 more witnesses would be examined.
The case has seen several prosecution witnesses turning hostile and retracting their statements to the police. The Kanchi Shankaracharyas, Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra Saraswathi, are among the accused in this case.