Two prosecution witnesses in the Sankararaman murder case, M. Bhaskar and V. Natarajan, contradicted their earlier statements during examination and cross-examination on Wednesday. The prosecution declared them hostile.

When the case came up for hearing before Principal District and Sessions Judge D. Krishna Raj, Bhaskar, a worker at a shop near the temple, contradicted his earlier statement and informed the court that he did not attend work on the day of the murder.

Denying he had told the police that he saw three persons coming out of the temple with sickles in their hands, he said the police had obtained his signature on blank papers. Special Public Prosecutor N. Devadoss declared him hostile.

Another prosecution witness, Natarajan, also a worker in a shop, turned hostile and said that the police had asked him to sign as a witness. He informed the court that he had signed on blank papers and there were no photographs on it. Soon after this, the prosecution declared him hostile.

The examination of prosecution witnesses began with Mr. Devadoss examining Assistant Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments R. Gnanasambandam. He was then cross-examined by defence counsel.

Prosecution witnesses G. Chittibabu, a dhobi at the temple, and M. Kasturi, a pushcart vendor, also contradicted their earlier statements, but were not declared hostile.

Fourteen accused in the case were present in the court for the hearing. Seven prosecution witnesses were examined on Wednesday. Mr. Raj has posted the case for Thursday when 10 more prosecution witnesses would be examined.

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