Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, facing charges in the murder of a temple manager, today pleaded the Supreme Court for transferring his case outside Tamil Nadu on the ground that he would not get fair trial as Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa was “actively controlling” the prosecution proceeding through her trusted officer Prem Kumar, who is in charge of the Special Investigating Team (SIT).
Senior advocate Fali S. Nariman, appearing for Shankaracharya, while referring to various allegations made against Jayalalithaa by the seer in his transfer petition, said: “It is very difficult even for the defence advocate to appear in the trial court in the case.”
He alleged that while accused P. Subramanaiam, who had turned an approver, was being cross examined during pre-charge evidence by the Judicial Magistrate, Prem Kumar had “prompted him to state that the defence advocate was also present at the scene of the crime.”
Since the affidavit was yet to be filed, the court adjourned the matter for further hearing on May 6 when it would consider the transfer petition in the light of the allegations made against the Chief Minister and the SIT.
In his petition, Shankaracharya said: “It is difficult to understand why all these prosecutions have been initiated and are being actively controlled by the Chief Minister, who is also holding the portfolio of the Home.”
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The “apparent reasons” spelt out in the petition for initiating criminal proceedings against him by the seer in various cases, including the temple manager Sankararaman murder, were referred as Jayalalithaa taking special interest in the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Charitable Trust and various education and health institutions run by it.
He alleged that the basic contentions were with regards to Chandrasekhara Saraswati Nyaya Shastra Mahavidyalaya, granted a status of deemed university by the Union Government, and the Jayendra Saraswati Institute of Medical Sciences on which the Kanchi trust had invested Rs 70 crore during 2004-05.
“The petitioner has reasonable apprehension that a fair and impartial trial cannot take place in Tamil Nadu in his case and it would be expedient for the ends of justice, to the apex court to direct that the proceedings in the case be transferred to a competent court outside the state,” the seer in his petition said.
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