The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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After murder, assault case on seer

Chennai, Nov. 23: Tamil Nadu police tonight booked Kanchi seer Jayendra Saraswati in another case relating to an assault on a former mutt aide, Radhakrishnan, and his wife in 2002.

The fresh warrant of arrest is believed to have been served on the acharya, lodged in Vellore Central Jail in connection with the murder of a temple manager, this evening by the Kancheepuram additional district superintendent Sakthivel, who is also the chief sleuth in the Shankar Raman murder case.

Reports from Vellore said Sakthivel visited the prison this evening, but police sources both at Kancheepuram and Chennai neither confirmed nor denied that the seer had been arrested in the second case.

'We do not know the facts,' the special branch police in Kancheepuram said on phone. Kancheepuram district superintendent Davidson was not available for comment.

A few days ago, chief minister Jayalalithaa told the Assembly that the assault case was being transferred to the team probing the murder as investigations indicated the seer was allegedly behind that attack too.

The acharya is in 15 days' judicial custody till November 26 after being named prime accused in the Shankar Raman murder case.

Radhakrishnan, his wife and an attendant were attacked by two persons with sharp-edged weapons at his residence in Chennai's Mylapore area on September 20, 2002. The couple was saved as neighbours rushed to their rescue on hearing their cries and the assailants fled.

As the police piled pressure on the seer, Jayalalithaa tonight issued a strongly-worded statement, refuting DMK president M. Karunanidhi's allegations of 'personal and political motives' behind the acharya's arrest.

'Thiru Karunanidhi's malicious statement attributing personal dealings as the motive behind the arrest of the pontiff is the height of absurdity' Thiru Karunanidhi is attributing personal motives to me for having impartially discharged my duty,' she said.

'Such outrageous statements casting aspersions on my discharge of duties as the chief minister of the state will not be taken lightly and legal action will be taken against all those making such irresponsible and malicious statements,' Jayalalithaa warned.

Striking out at VHP leader Ashok Singhal, she took him to task for having 'referred to some deal relating to a hospital near Chennai' in his 'wild and fanciful statements attributing motives' to the arrest.

'This is totally absurd and patently untrue and this fabricated story has been put out in a desperate diversionary bid to deflect attention from the heinous and barbaric crime that has been committed,' said Jayalalithaa.

The chief minister said the police had 'carefully assessed the evidence collected and it was only when they were thoroughly convinced of the role of Sri Jayendra Saraswati that they proceeded to effect the arrest'. The decision to arrest the seer was taken 'after great deliberation on all aspects', she pointed out.

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