An approver in a temple manager murder case, in which Kanchi seer Jayendra Saraswathi and his junior Vijayendra Saraswathi are the main accused, turned hostile during cross examination in a local court on Thursday.

Ravi Subramanian, the only witness cross examined on Thursday by Special Public Prosecutor N Devadass, contradicted his statement made during depositions before police and the court in Kancheepuram, regarding the murder of Sankararaman in the Varadarajaperumal temple premises at Kancheepuram on September 3 2004.

The two seers have been charged under sections 120-B (conspiracy) and 302 (murder) of IPC. Vijayendra Saraswathi was among 16 of the 24 accused present in court. The absentees included the senior pontiff Jayendra Sarawathi.

Devadoss later told reporters that Ravi Subramanian, a key witness in the case, also said during cross examination that he had nothing to do with the murder.

Principal District and Sessions Judge D Krishnaraja, who adjourned further proceedings in the case to February 11, said 35 more witnesses would be examined in the next hearing.

Thirty nine witnesses and the approver have been examined so far and a majority of them have turned hostile.

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