The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Singh letter salve on seer

New Delhi, Nov. 25: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said tonight the investigation involving the Kanchi seer should be conducted with 'extreme care and consideration' and asked Jayalalithaa to take 'all measures' to ensure his 'physical well-being'.

In a letter to the Tamil Nadu chief minister, Singh said 'an investigation involving a person of his eminence needs to be conducted with extreme care and consideration'.

Noting that Jayendra Saraswati was arrested in connection with the probe into the murder of a former employee of the Kanchi mutt, the Prime Minister said: 'I believe that the government of Tamil Nadu has had to take this extreme step of arresting swamiji keeping in view the gravity of the allegations against his holiness in the murder case'.

He added: 'Whereas it is extremely important that due processes of law must not be interfered with and that law must be allowed to take its own course, it is also relevant to note that swamiji keeps indifferent health.

'His holiness also enjoys a high religious status and position in society. The sentiments of many individuals are closely associated with his holiness' well-being.'

On two earlier occasions, Singh had said the Centre had no hand in the arrest but felt that the seer's age and stature as a religious leader should be kept in mind while dealing with him.

SC blow

The Prime Minister's letter came a few hours after the Supreme Court dismissed a public interest petition to hand over the murder case to the CBI.

The court said the petitioner had neither locus standi nor had he established how the seer's arrest affected fundamental rights. The public interest litigation ' filed by former BJP Rajya Sabha member and VHP leader Ashok Singhal's brother B.P. Singhal ' claimed the Kanchi acharya's arrest resulted in violation of fundamental rights and the subsequent bandhs and protests had affected the country's 'economic growth'.

The division bench of Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti and Justice G.P. Mathur rejected the plea.

The court wanted 'concrete material' when the counsel said protests organised against the arrest were affecting economic growth.

'You have said that bandhs and protests are affecting the economic growth of the nation... people at large are affected due to unrest and normalcy is affected... show us any concrete material... where are these mentioned in your petition' the chief justice asked.

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