The controversial arrest and acquittal of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya is mired in mystery and doubt. After the Republic TV's video expose on the seer when he was being investigated by the cops in jail, things somehow point to a different direction from the court's verdict.
Although the authenticity of the tapes is yet to be ascertained, it is clear that there is more to what meets the eye. The entire 5:50 seconds of clipping that purportedly never made its way to the court or the witness box, was shot during his police custody in 2004. The seer is seen quoting from the vedas, puranas and mythology, citing instances where Gods and Godesses have killed for a "cause" and how people still worship them.
While that was his way of justifying violence, the evidence and the past reports against him too paint a tainted picture of him. For the record, these are the various allegations levied against him:
Death of temple manager Sankararaman
The first and the foremost being masterminding the murder of Sankararaman, who was the temple manager of the Devarajasamy temple. At 5:30 pm, on September 3, 2004, five men attacked him and hacked him to death in the temple office. It was in this light that his soured relations with Shankaracharya was revealed. The latter was arrested, along with Kanchi Mutt Manager Sundaresa Iyer and junior pontiff Vijayendra Saraswati's brother Raghu.
The missing 83 kg gold
The seer was arrested for one more reason, for attacking another alleged whistleblower Radhakrishnan who was the temple auditor and had asked questions about missing 83 Kgs of Gold meant for the Kamksha temple. Although Radhakrishnan escaped the assault narrowly, the murder case of Sankararaman further got expedited. Police had slapped charges of criminal conspiracy and attempt to murder cases against Saraswathi and 12 others. A chargesheet was filed in 2006 for the offences.
In the both the cases, when Shankaracharya was questioned, he said he did not know anything and that he was being framed. He was even asked whether he had threatened Radhakrishnan over the phone assuming that he was writing letters in the pseudonym of Somasekara Ganapadigal to which he answered in the negative. It was alleged that the 83 kgs of gold went missing after the Kanakabishekam for Paramacharya Chandrasekara Saraswathi in view of the latter's centenary in 1993. To which too, he answered in the negative.
Sundaresa Iyer and Raghu too said the charges against them were a "lie, and a fabricated case" and that they had no links whatsoever to the case. Six of the other accused too denied involvement in the case and said that the case against them was false. Meanwhile, mastermind of Sankararaman's murder, who later turned into a police approver, Ravi Subramanian turned hostile in court.
Two of the other accused Aappu and Kathiravan are dead.
The seer and all the 12 accused in the case were acquitted by the Puducherry court in 2013 with regards to Sankararaman's murder. The court cited that enough evidence was not provided and none of the eyewitnesses, including the victim's daughter, could not identify the accused. Even the three other temple officials and eyewitnesses said that they could only see the back of the murderers.
In the video clipping released by The Republic, Shankaracharya is shown flaunting his political network when he was given the letter written by Sankararaman. He is seen saying how the police officials came to him to seek his blessings and how CM Jayalalithaa and Sasikala had visited him. In fact, it was also said that Jayalalithaa was accused of taking his advice in running the government.
It is not unknown, that Shankaracharya is also known to have a national political presence when the then PM Atal Behari Vajpayee sought his help in resolving the Ayodhya issue. Apparently, he also worked as a mediator between the Hindus and the Muslims.