Sankararaman’s wife and son among 189 witnesses examined; nearly 80 of them, including approver Ravi Subramaniam, turned hostile

Principal District Sessions Court Judge, Puducherry, C.S. Murugan, will deliver the judgment in the Sankararaman murder case on Wednesday.

Senior and junior Sankaracharyas of the Kanchi Sankara Mutt Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra Saraswathi are the prime accused in the case.

A. Sankararaman, manager of the Sri Varadarajaperumal temple in Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, was murdered on September 3, 2004. As many as 24 persons were cited as accused in the case. N. Sundaresan, manager, Sankara mutt and M.K. Raghu, brother of junior seer, were among the accused. M. Kathiravan, one of the accused, was hacked to death at K.K. Nagar in March 2013.

The case was shifted from a court in Chengalpet to the Puducherry court in 2005 by the Supreme Court based on a Special Leave Petition by Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, who stated that the atmosphere in Tamil Nadu was not conducive for a free and fair trial. Later, the Supreme Court, acting on another Special Leave Petition by Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, who challenged the continuance of Tamil Nadu’s Public Prosecutors in the Puducherry court, which is a Union Territory, directed the Puducherry government to appoint its own Public Prosecutor to conduct the trial.

A total of 189 witnesses, including Padma, wife of Sankararaman and Anand Sharma, her son, were examined by the prosecution. Of them, nearly 80 turned hostile and they included the approver, Ravi Subramaniam. The approver was declared hostile after he denied his earlier statements and depositions made before the court and the police about identifying the accused, his connections with a few accused and his visits to the Sankara mutt at Kancheepuram allegedly in connection with the planning of the murder. In December 2011, the Madras High Court dismissed a habeas corpus petition seeking the production of Mr.Ravi Subramaniam before the court and set him at liberty.

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