One of the five witnesses on trial in the Sankararaman murder case, in which Kanchi seer Jayendra Saraswati and his junior Vijendra Saraswathi are the main accused, turned hostile on Thursday.

With this, five witnesses have so far turned hostile in the case.

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

Only 14 of the 24 accused were present when the hearing resumed today before the Principal District and Sessions Judge D. Krishnaraja. The absentees included the two Seers, who have been charged under sections 120 (B) (conspiracy) and 302 (murder).

During cross examination by Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) N. Devadoss, the witness ‘Bombay’ Krishnan denied having made any statement to the police and the magistrate at Uthiramerur in Kancheepuram district earlier.

Krishnan said he had signed the statement ‘which was kept ready’ and signed it when asked to do so. The SPP then declared him hostile.

The other witnesses examined today were an advocate from Kancheepuram, another person in charge of a private courier service office in Kancheepuram and two Sanskrit pundits from Chennai and Kancheepuram.

The Judge adjourned further proceedings in the hearing to October 15 and 16. The SPP later told reporters that 19 witnesses would be examined on these two days.

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