Principal District and Sessions Judge C.S. Murugan will pronounce the verdict in the Sankararaman murder case on November 27. The senior and junior pontiffs of the Kanchi Sankara Mutt, Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra Saraswathi, are the prime accused.

Twenty-one of the 23 accused, including Jayendra Saraswathi, Vijayendra Saraswathi, mutt manager N. Sundaresan and M.K. Raghu, brother of the junior seer, were present in the court when the case came up for hearing on Tuesday. Ravi Subramaniam, approver who turned hostile, was also present. S. Rajinikanth and T. Pandian, accused no. 7 and 17, were not present.

The judge had asked the persons concerned to submit to the court before November 12 reservations they had, if any, about delivering of the judgment. As none moved any petition, he said the verdict would be pronounced on November 27.

On September 3, 2004, A. Sankararaman, manager of the Varadarajaperumal temple at Kancheepuram, was murdered. Twenty-four persons were cited as accused. M. Kathiravan, accused no. 6, was hacked to death in March 2013 by a gang at K.K. Nagar, Chennai. Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra Saraswathi were charged under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), read with Sections 302 and 449 of the IPC. Sundaresan and Raghu were cited as co-conspirators.

During the trial, 189 witnesses, including Sankararaman’s wife Padma and son Anand Sharma, were examined from 2009 to 2012. Eighty-one turned hostile.

The case was shifted from a Chengalpet court to Puducherry by the Supreme Court in 2005 on a special leave petition filed by Jayendra Saraswathi, who alleged that the atmosphere in Tamil Nadu was not conducive for a free and fair trial. On another special leave petition by him against the continuance of Tamil Nadu’s public prosecutors in the Puducherry court, the Supreme Court directed the Territorial Administration to appoint its own public prosecutor to conduct the trial.