The Tamil Nadu police on Friday filed a charge sheet in the sensational Sankararaman murder case.
Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati and his deputy, Vijayendra Saraswati, the prime accused in the case, have been charged with drawing a conspiracy to murder Sankararaman, a manager of the Varadarajaperumal temple in Kanchipuram, on September 3, 2004.
Sankararaman was murdered the same day.
Also see: Who was Sankararaman?
The charge sheet running into 1,873 pages was filed by Superintendent of Police Premkumar, who heads the special investigating team probing the murder.
While the senior Shankaracharya is on bail after two months in jail, the junior seer is in judicial custody.
Premkumar later told newsmen that the charge sheet has been accepted by the magistrate and its copies will be ready by Monday or Tuesday.
Also see: Acted without fear in seer's case: Jaya | Compele coverage
The two pontiffs have been charged under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and, if convicted, could attract sentences ranging from three years' rigorous imprisonment to capital punishment.
Asked whether the prosecution case would stand in the court, Premkumar said 40 to 50 witnesses have already given
statements before the magistrate.
Asked whether the Shankaracharya could go to the Sankara Mutt in Kanchipuram now that the charge sheet has been filed, Premkumar said: "I cannot say anything on that now."
Police sources said the charge sheet contained a set of evidences which had not been furnished before the Supreme
Court in connection with the seer's bail plea.
Before filing the charge sheet, the police placed it at the Varadarajaperumal temple, where Sankararaman was murdered.
Apart from the Shankaracharya and his deputy, 23 others have been charged in the case, including Kanchi mutt manager Sundaresa Iyer and Vijayendra Saraswati's brother, Raghu.