Five more prosecution witnesses in the Sankararaman murder case, in which Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi and junior acharya Vijayendra Saraswathi are the prime accused, turned hostile during the trial in a local court on Thursday.

Five of the 11 witnesses examined by Special Public Prosecutor N Devadoss before Principal and District Sessions Judge D Krishnaraja contradicted their statements made earlier to the police.

Of the 24 accused in the case, only seven were present.

The absentees included the two seers who have been charged under IPC sections of 120-B (conspiracy) and 302 (murder).

Of the 83 prosecution witnesses examined, 45 have turned hostile so far.

The hearing has been adjourned to tomorrow when a few more witnesses would be examined.

Sankararaman, manager of Varadaraja Perumal temple in Kancheepuram, was murdered in the temple premises on September 3, 2004. The Supreme Court had shifted the trial to Puducherry in October, 2005 on a petition by Jayendra Saraswathi.

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