Puducherry: The Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi and 22 others have been acquitted in Puducherry in the 2004 murder of a Kancheepuram temple employee.
A Sankararaman, the manager of the Varadarajaperumal temple in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, was allegedly murdered on September 3, 2004, in the temple premises.
Sankararaman had allegedly written several letters to publications claiming that the Kanchi mutt had deteriorated ever since Jayendra Saraswati had taken over. He had also alleged misuse of funds in his letters, some of them to the pontiff himself.
The Shankaracharya and another pontiff Vijayendra, were among six people charged with his murder. Another manager of the Kanchi Mutt, Sundaresan, and Jayendra Saraswathi's brother Raghu were charged as co-conspirators. (Read: 10 facts about the case)
A total 24 people were charged in the case under various sections; one of the accused was murdered in March this year near Chennai.
The trial was shifted from a Chengalpet court in Tamil Nadu to Puducherry by the Supreme Court in 2005, based on a plea by Jayendra Saraswathi, who alleged that the accused would not get a free and fair trial in Tamil Nadu.
During the trial, 189 witnesses were examined between 2009 and 2012, of which 83 turned hostile.