Chennai/Kanchi, Nov. 22 (NNN): In the first judicial relief for the Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, a local Kanchipuram court on Monday rejected the prosecution plea seeking extension of his police custody.
But the Madras High Court today upheld an order of the Kanchipuram court remanding the Shankaracharya to three days in police custody.
Dismissing the application, First Class Judicial Magistrate-I G Uttamaraj held that the seer had already been sufficiently interrogated and there was no need to grant further custody.
The seer was arrested last week for his alleged involvement in the murder of former temple manager Shankraraman.
However, in a related development, the Madras High Court today upheld an order of the Kanchipuram court remanding the Shankaracharya to three days in police custody.
The court also turned down his plea seeking the presence of an advocate during interrogation in police custody.
Justice A K Rajan dismissed a petition filed by the seer, challenging his remand to police custody by the Kanchipuram First Class Judicial Magistrate G Uttamaraj.
The judge observed that it was legally right for him to be sent to police custody.
The court had earlier in the day permitted a lawyer to be present while the seer was being interrogated in police custody.
The judge modified it later after the defence counsel informed him that the court order he had relied upon for seeking the presence of an advocate during interrogation "was not what he had thought it to be."
Meanwhile the Shankaracharya lawyers said that they are not yet going to approach the Supreme Court for bail.
His lawyers feel that since that would be the last resort, it is better to exhaust all options before that, including approaching the high court again.
The BJP has denied that it is trying to politicise the Shankaracharya issue.
BJP President L K Advani met the Shankaracharya in Vellore jail. Advani is scheduled to address a public meeting at Chennai later in the evening.
Meanwhile, Karunanidhi said he suspected "personal vengeance and motives" behind the way in which Kanchi Shankaracharya was treated after his arrest. "It is too much. My opinion is the same that of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue," he told reporters.
"We have welcomed the arrest of Shankaracharya but now we have come to know that there are certain things behind the arrest. There is personal vengeance on the part of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa," he alleged.
Karunanidhi, who had earlier welcomed the arrest as an "honest action" of police, said in Chennai that one should not forget that there had been "many personal matters" between her and Jayendra Saraswathi.
"But it is learnt that there are some reasons [behind the seer's arrest]. There is a streak of political background and vengeance in Jayalalithaa's action. Answers to a number of doubts in both the cases have not come."
Asked about the contradictions in this statement, Karunanidhi said, "I gave my views soon after the arrest. But on the basis of the details subsequently available doubts have arisen."
Asked if there could be a motive behind the CM's announcement of the Rs 5 lakh compensation to the family of the murdered temple official, Sankararaman, he said the Shankaracharya was arrested two-and-a-half months after the murder.
"What happened in between? What are the reasons for the delay? They [the government] say investigations. But if one sees reports coming out now, there are doubts even in this," he said.
Asked about the Bharatiya Janata Party's agitation against the arrest, Karunanidhi said they were doing their "duty", but expressed the hope that they would not create communal problems.
Protests Continue: Meanwhile, protests against the Shankaracharya's arrest continued today in different parts of the country.
Top BJP leaders are holding a hunger strike to protest against the treatment being given to the seer.
VHP and BJP workers turned violent in a number of placeS smashing the windshields of cars in Orissa. They also attacked the vehicle of the Orissa Gana Parishad President Bijay Mahapatra.
Left parties in Bhubaneswar have blamed the police for doing little to control the situation.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has also called a nationwide bandh today to demand the immediate release of the seer from police custody.