MEMORANDUM OF CRIMINAL ORIGINAL PETITION
UNDER SECTION 439 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS
(CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION)
CRIMINAL O.P. NO. OF 2004
FIR NO.914 OF 2004
ON THE FILE OF THE RESPONDENT POLICE
SRI JAYENDRA SARASWATHY SWAMIGAL …… Petitioner/Accused
THE INSPECTOR OF POLICE
B-2 Vishnu Kanchi Police Station
Kancheepuram …………….. Respondent
BAIL PETITION FILED UNDER SECTION 439 OF THE
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE
Address of services of all notices and processes of the Petitioner is that of his Counsel M. Sathyanarayanan, K. Ravi Anantha Padmanabhan and Arun Ambumigal IV High Court Chambers, High Court Buildings, Chennai – 600 104.
1. Sri Jayendra Saraswathy Swamigal, the Petitioner herein, begs to prefer this Memorandum of Criminal Original Petition before this Hon’ble High Court seeking to enlarge him on bail pending Investigation in B-2 Vishnu Kanchi Police Station Crime No.914/2004 for offences under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. It is now claimed by the Prosecution that the Petitioner herein is a conspirator and the murder was committed by hired assassins.
2. The Petitioner herein is presently the Senior Pontiff of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, one of the five institutions established by Sri Adishankara around 860 A.D. It has devotees all over India and abroad. Besides disseminating Vedanta and scriptural knowledge to the masses, the Mutt is engaged in other social and charitable activities catering to millions of people all over India. Charitable Hospitals and Educational Institutions imparting Post Graduate teaching in various faculties are also in the sphere of activities of the Mutt.
3. Briefly stated the prosecution case is set out hereunder:
a. Sankararaman, the deceased in the case, was employed in the Varadaraja Perumal Temple as its Manager. Prior to this he was associated with the Paramacharya of Kanchi Mutt till his demise in the year 1994. Thereafter the Petitioner herein became the 69th Peetatipathi of the Mutt.
b. It is claimed by the prosecution that the deceased became disenchanted with the Petitioner herein because he deviated from the very orthodox and traditional manner in which the Paramacharya was administering the affairs of the Mutt. However, after the Petitioner took over the administration, the activities of the Mutt spread over the length and breadth of the country, both in temporal as well as socio economic activities. A number of Educational and Charitable trusts came to be established by the Petitioner herein in an endeavor to not only spread the Hindu philosophy but also to alleviate poverty and illiteracy throughout the length and breadth of the country.
c. Unfortunately, the deceased Sankararaman, who was more inclined to the traditional and orthodox manner practiced by the Paramacharya started bitterly criticizing the Petitioner herein for deviating from the traditional path which was tread by the earlier Pontiff. Sankararaman used to send letters not only to officials at the HR&CE Board but also members of the general public. In fact a stage reached when the Mutt authorities ignored such obnoxious letters and they were not even placed before the Petitioner herein.
d. While so, on 03-09-2004 at about 5.45 P.M. while Sankararaman was sitting in his office along with two other employees at the Varadaraja Swamy Temple. Two person came there and attacked Sankararaman indiscriminately with lethal weapons (aruvaals) which resulted in his instantaneous death. After the assault both the assailants sped away from the scene and joined three other persons who were waiting in two motorcycles outside the temple. All the five decamped from the scene.
e. It is of significance that the entire occurrence was witnessed by two employees of the temple of which one of them lodged an FIR at 6.30 P.M. with the B-2 Vishnu Kanchi Police Station. On this complaint a case in Crime No.914/2004 was registered at 7.00 P.M. for alleged offences for Section 302 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. The FIR specifically states that the occurrence was immediately brought to the notice of the temple authorities by the informant and the other witness. The investigation in the case was taken up by the Vishnu Kanchi Police as stated earlier.
4. It is submitted that in the usual course of his religious duties the Acharya Sri Jayendra Saraswathy Swamigal, the Petitioner herein, left Kancheepuram on 23-09-2004 and proceeded to Madurai and thereafter to various other places. He ultimately landed in Mehboob Nagar on 10-11-2004. Pertinent it is to note that between 3rd September 2004 and the 23rd September 2004, the Police never visited the Mutt nor did they attempt to contact the Acharya in relation to the case.
5. It is submitted that the Police, for the first time examined Thiru N. Sundaresan, the Manager of the Kanchi Mutt, on 29-09-2004 by keepinghim in the Police Station for about 3 hours in the morning and another 2 hours in the evening. Thiru. Sundaresan provided all such information as was required of him by the Police. More importantly no questions were put to him either about any cell phone conversation or any Bank account of the Mutt and withdrawal of monies therefrom. In fact nothing even remotely suggesting the involvement of the Acharya in the occurrence was whispered by the Police. On 30-09-2004, Thiru. Viswanathan, the Accountant of the Mutt, was summoned by the Police and the Bank statement of the Mutt was furnished to them at their request.
6. While so, the Tamil Nadu Police went over to Mehboob Nagar in Andhra Pradesh in a State owned Cessna aircraft with a posse of high ranking police officials heavily armed with sophisticated weapons which was in fact objected to by the CISF authorities. It is understood that a helicopter was also pressed into service obviously for surveillance. This operation was admittedly for arrest of the Acharya at Mehboob Nagar and bringing him to Madras. The fact is, it was a Deepavali night coupled with the fact that the Acharya who was in the ‘Z’ category security could never flee from Mehboob Nagar although it is now claimed that a helicopter had been specially stationed at Mehboob Nagar to enable the Acharya apparently along with his commandos to flee from the place.
It is now claimed by the Police that based upon the confessional statement of two persons, namely Kathiravan and Rajini alias Chinna, it has come to light that the Petitioner is a conspirator and that hired assassins murdered the deceased Sankararaman for consideration.
8. It is respectfully submitted that the Prosecution also claims to have materials containing disbursement of monies for carrying out the murder but such a claim is obviously false. Apart from the ambivalent stance taken by the Prosecution at different stages, it is highly inconceivable that merely because the deceased had been criticizing the Petitioner herein in relation to the management and affairs of the Trust, the latter would resort to engaing the services of contract killers to do away with the deceased who was a former associate of the Paramacharya himself.
9. It is respectfully submitted that the earlier bail application was mainly resisted on the ground that custodial interrogation of the Petitioner was necessary to aid the investigation in the process of discovering fresh materials. Such a request had been granted to the Investigating Agency by the Learned Judicial Magistrate – I, Kancheepuram by Order dated 19-11-2004. The request of the Investigating Agency to further extend Police Custody was rightly denied by the Learned Magistrate on 22-11-2004.
10. It is respectfully submitted that there is no more justification for keeping the Petitioner under incarceration. There is no possibility of the Petitioner resorting to any act by which the free investigation in the case would be impeded. Besides, he is aged 70 years and being a chronic diabetic, needs constant medical attention which the Prosecution itself has unambiguously stated all fairness admitted.
11. It is respectfully submitted that although elaborate arguments were advanced during the hearing of the earlier bail Petition No. Crl.O.P.35490/2004, this Hon’ble Court was pleased to dispose of the same by an Order dated 20.11.2004 specifically observed that the same was dismissed at this stage.
12. It is most respectfully submitted that inter alia others, there has been a substantial change in circumstances which entitles the Petitioner to prefer this second successive bail petition namely:
a. Custodial interrogation which was strenuously sought for by the Investigating
Agency was granted and the Petitioner was thereafter surrendered to judicial
custody. The further request for extended police custody was also felt unnecessary
by the Learned Magistrate and the request was rightly denied.
b. The two accused namely Kathiravan and Rajini alias Chinna on whose alleged confessional statements the Petitioner was implicated and consequently arrested at Mehboob Nagar have now resiled from the same besides alleging torturous treatment and extortion of confessional statements in the hands of the Police. In fact Kathiravan has stated in open Court that he was beaten up at the Police Station and the police forced him to read a statement as dictated by them and the same was recorded on a video camera in the presence of a Tahsildar Kathiravan has further stated that the police coerced him to make a statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code before a Magistrate. The other accused Rajini alias Chinna had stated in open Court that his teeth was broken during interrogation.
c. The identification parade is also reported to have been completed in this case.
13. It is therefore respectfully sumitted that the change of circumstances narrated hereinabove absolves the Petitioner from the crime alleged to have been committed by him. It is now clear that the implication of the Acharya Sri Jayendra Saraswathy Swamigal, the Petitioner herein is false. The Petitioner has been remanded to further judicial custody today (26.11.2004) for another period of 15 days by J.M. No.1, Kancheepuram.
It is therefore prayed that this Hon’ble Court be pleased to enlarge the Petitioner on bail in Crime No.914/2004 on the file of the B-2 Vishnu Kanchi Police Station, the Respondent Police herein, pending investigation and render justice.
DATED AT CHENNAI THIS 26TH DAY OF NOVEMBER 2004.
COUNSEL FOR THE PETITIONER
1. Bail to the satisfaction of Judicial Magistrate I, Kancheepuram
2. The Petitioner is confined at the Central Prison, Vellore
3. No similar application is pending in any other court.
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