Court acquits Kanchi seers in Sankararaman murder case

Puducherry: In a major relief to Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi and his junior Vijayendra Saraswathi, a special Court on Wednesday acquitted them along with 21 others for lack of evidence in the sensational murder case of a temple official in Kancheepuram.
Pronouncing the verdict in a packed court hall amid tight security, Principal District and Sessions Judge C S Murugan declared that all the 23 accused out of 24 stood acquitted of the charges made out against them as "there is no incriminating evidence against the accused." 
One of the accused Kathiravan was murdered in March this year in Chennai.
The judge said the motive for the commission of murder was not proved, since Padma and Anand Sharma, wife and son of murdered Varadarajaperumal Temple Manager, A Sankararaman respectively, had failed to support prosecution case.
The two Kanchi Seers were among those who had been charged with criminal conspiracy and murder of Sankararaman, who was hacked to death in the temple premises on the evening of September 3, 2004.
The judge referred to "undue interest and active participation" by the then Superintendent of Police of Kancheepuram, Prem Kumar in the probe, which also found mention in the Supreme Court order while granting bail to Jayendra Saraswathi.
The judge observed that the police officer's action was much beyond what was required under law during the investigation.
Due to intervention of Prem Kumar in the investigation, a fair and proper was not done by the Chief Investigation Officer (CIO), the order stated.
The CIO failed to do independent investigation and did not place all the materials collected by some of the investigating officers other than those arrested by them, the judge said.