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Reports on confession "baseless," claims Sushma quoting Acharya

VELLORE, NOV. 29. The Kanchi Sankaracharya, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, has characterised media reports about his purported "confession" made during the police interrogation as "totally baseless and an absolute lie," according to the Bharatiya Janata Party vice-president, Sushma Swaraj, who met the Acharya in the Central Prison here on Monday.

Talking to newspersons after the half-hour meeting, Ms. Swaraj said that she was perturbed at the reports in some sections of the press and a Mumbai-based report telecast by a satellite channel that the Acharya had made a confession.

She said that she specifically enquired about the news, and "the Sankaracharya said with all the truth at his command that the report is absolutely baseless.''

"I can tell you with all authenticity that the Sankaracharya says that it is an absolute lie. No such thing ever happened," she said and appealed to the media to desist from printing or telecasting such news, which would destroy the prestige of the Kanchi Mutt, which had a tradition of 2,500 years.

Shock, pain

Asked about the arrest, Ms. Swaraj said the case was totally false. Not only she but also the entire country was "shocked and extremely pained" at the arrest of the Acharya.

It was really sad that one of the tallest Dharmagurus had been arrested and kept in jail.

"Allies too commit mistakes," she said when she was told that the action against the Acharya was taken by a Government run by a party, which was a BJP ally at the time of the arrest. "Not only an alliance. She [the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa] was a friend," Ms. Swaraj said.

The BJP would raise the issue in Parliament as part of the next phase of its agitation.

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