The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Slur of lady & lucre on Kanchi seer

Chennai, Nov. 29: The prosecution today claimed that Jayendra Saraswati has 'confessed' to police his involvement in the murder of temple official Shankar Raman even as a slew of allegations erupted against the jailed seer.

Noted Tamil writer Anuradha Ramanan alleged that the seer had 'attempted to outrage her modesty' when she had visited the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt in 1993 to discuss the launch of a women's magazine.

The allegation came on a day prosecutors also spoke of the Kanchi acharya's 'contacts' with a woman and referred to allegations that 65 kg of gold imported for a chariot has not been accounted for.

In Madras High Court, the prosecution read out from the transcript of the 'confession' the acharya is said to have made in police custody. 'Whatever be the cost, he (Shankar Raman) has to be done away with,' the acharya is alleged to have told the three other top accused ' Ravi Subramaniam, a Chennai-based builder; Krishnasamy alias Appu, the kingpin of the killer gang, and Kathiravan, his assistant.

The meeting in the Kanchi mutt, the prosecution said, was held on September 1, two days before the murder. The allegation, before Justice R. Balasubramanian, came during daylong arguments on the seer's second bail application.

The 'confession' will not be admissible as evidence in court as it has not been recorded before a magistrate. However, prosecution counsel K.T.S. Tulsi said it was 'very relevant' to the hearing of the bail plea as the entire interrogation was recorded on video.

'We can show it (the recording) in your chamber' the Supreme Court advocate told the judge.

Tulsi said the acharya had corroborated some of the statements made by other witnesses. The police, he added, had got hold of statements of phone calls made from a PCO by the fleeing assailants some 15 minutes after the murder, informing the seer of the 'job done'. Tulsi said Jayendra Saraswati had 'accepted it was his cellphone and that he had spoken to these persons (the three other top accused)'.

Chief investigating officer S.P. Sakthivelu said Jayendra Saraswati's early morning conversations with Usha, a 'deserted woman at Sri Rangam', a pilgrim centre, used to last 'even for 900 pulse units'. She was given free quarters and substantial sums of money had been 'periodically transferred to her through banks', the police officer said.

Shankar Raman had also complained that the seer did not account for 65 kg of the 100 kg of gold imported to make a 'golden chariot' for the Kamakshi Amman Temple in Kancheepuram. 'Only 35 kg of that gold was utilised,' Tulsi told the court.

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