A local court on Monday adjourned the hearing in the Sankararaman murder case to October 21, in which Kanchi Seer Jayendra Saraswathi and his junior Vijayendra Saraswathi are the main accused.

Only five of the 24 accused were present in court today when the case came up before Principal District and Sessions Judge T. Ramaswamy. The seers were among the absentees.

The two seers have been charged under IPC sections relating to criminal conspiracy and murder.

Velan, a witness examined today turned hostile during cross examination and denied having given any statement to police with regard to the case. He also told the court that police had not questioned him earlier.

The court dispensed with the examination of another witness Sankaran, a retired transport department clerk in Chennai as he could not bring with him documents relating to the case.

Special Public prosecutor N. Devadoss later told newsmen that Sankaran was not examined as retired staff could not have access to the documents in the department.

As many as 96 witnesses have so far been examined since commencement of the trial here after the Supreme Court shifted the case from Chengalpattu district court on a petition filed by Jayendra Saraswathi in October 2005. Of the total witnesses 53 have turned hostile.

Sankararaman, manager of Varadarajaperumal temple in Kancheepuram, was allegedly murdered on the premises of the temple on September 3, 2004.