The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jaya link in secret mission to seer

Kancheepuram, Jan. 18: A visitor late this evening to the ashram of Swami Jayendra Saraswati sparked speculation about a peace move from Jayalalithaa getting under way.

M. Natarajan, the estranged husband of close Jayalalithaa associate Sasikala, visited the seer of the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt at Kalavai, 45 km from here, on a day police named the junior acharya of the temple the 'second accused' in the Shankar Raman murder.

Chennai-based builder Ravi Subramanian was being cited as the second accused in the case so far but the dubious honour now goes to Vijayendra Saraswati.

Jayendra Saraswati is the main accused in the killing of Raman, the manager of the Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple, on September 3, 2004.

Natarajan arrived with two friends at the mutt ashram at Kalavai a little before 9, when the guards at the gate had almost called it a day.

His car was allowed inside, a rare privilege. Though he is no longer together with Sasikala, Natarajan is believed to belong to Jayalalithaa's group of associates.

After a one-hour meeting with the acharya, he, however, said he had 'neither come as a messenger nor as a messiah'. Natarajan added that the state's action against the mutt was 'unwarranted, unjustified and illogical'.

Whatever the motive behind this visit, the state pursued the case doggedly in court with the prosecution seeking five days of police custody to question Vijayendra Saraswati. But G. Uthamaraj, the first class judicial magistrate here, granted only a day's custody beginning 5 pm today.

The prosecution accused the junior seer of handing over money to his brother Raghu, another accused in the case, to distribute among Raman's hired killers.

Principal investigating officer Sakthivel told Uthamaraj that the police had to question the junior seer to find out his role in the conspiracy, so that the prosecution could 'have all the facts before filing the chargesheet in this case very soon'.

The chargesheet is expected on Friday.

A spirited Vijayendra Saraswati rubbished the prosecution's arguments, saying: 'There is not even an iota of truth in the charges. There may be a conspiracy by others to somehow implicate me in this case, but there is no truth whatsoever in the charges.'

His counsel said his client had been summoned twice for questioning last month and had 'mentioned all the facts known to him'. The seer urged the judge to allow his ayurvedic physician to examine him for his neck pain and cold. 'There has been no physical harassment in the cell but some mental harassment.'

The prosecution said Vijayendra Saraswati had not cooperated with the police in December and had to be interrogated now for it 'will be useful for filing the chargesheet'.

Later, responding to questions from reporters, the junior seer denied that a third acharya had been found for the Kanchi mutt to ensure that pujas could be performed without a break, as RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan had claimed last evening.

Vijayendra Saraswati also dismissed suggestions of differences with the acharya, made in a CD recording that purports to be the confession of Jayendra Saraswati.

The CD was leaked last week. The junior seer said the CD was 'manipulated stuff'.

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