The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pivotal Kanchi suspect in custody

Hyderabad/Chennai, Dec. 19: The manhunt for Appu alias Krishnasamy Reddy, one of the most wanted in the Kanchi murder case, came to an end today in an Andhra Pradesh hamlet where he surrendered.

The prosecution had been claiming that Appu's arrest would help establish a direct link between the Kanchi seer Jayendra Saraswati and the murder of Shankar Raman.

Appu is alleged to have spoken to the seer before and after the murder. The only other person said to have had a similar conversation with the seer is still at large.

However, before Appu was handed over to Tamil Nadu police at the local police station, he said he was innocent.

'I have no links with the sankaracharya. I am only his devotee and have served voluntarily at the (Kanchi Kamakoti) mutt on a few occasions.'

The police had said two witnesses told them that they saw both Appu and second accused, Ravi Subramanian, closeted with the seer in his room at the mutt on the night of September 1, two days before Raman's murder.

Appu, 46, surrendered this afternoon at Balakrishnapuram in Chittoor district to Andhra and Tamil Nadu police, which were waiting for him after he sent word this morning to 'present himself'.

Appu is the alleged kingpin of the five-member gang that killed Raman, the manager of Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple, inside its premises on September 3.

He is the 21st to be arrested of the 22 accused in the case so far. The police cited him as the third accused. The first accused is the seer, who was arrested early last month.

Tamil Nadu police had a few days ago announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh each on Appu and Chennai-based builder Subramanian for information leading to their arrest.

Appu said he had absconded out of fear of implication in the case by Tamil Nadu police, which he alleged was bent on defaming the acharya.

'I have received threats from the Chennai police top brass that they will kill me in an encounter if I do not do their bidding. That's why I went into hiding and am surrendering now,' Appu said in Telugu today.

Appu will be taken to Kancheepuram for judicial remand, sources said.

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