HC denies bail to accused in Tirunelveli priest murder case

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has dismissed the bail petition filed by one of the accused in the Tirunelveli temple priest murder case.

The priest, Chidambaram, and his friend Nataraja Perumal were attacked by an armed gang over a commercial dispute. The priest was murdered and his friend was grievously injured.

Justice B. Pugalendhi observed that the offence was of serious nature and a substantial portion of the investigation was yet to be completed. All accused in the case conspired to eliminate the priest. In the brutal attack, the priest sustained 26 injuries all over the body and died on the spot, the judge said.

The court was hearing the bail petition filed by Elangamani, a village headman, one of the accused in the case. The petitioner said that he had been falsely implicated in the case. The State opposed the grant of bail to the accused. The case of the prosecution was that the incident took place due to a commercial dispute between two groups.

There was an arrangement between the two groups with regard to sharing the income of the Seevalaperi Sudalai Madasamy temple. One group was running shops in the temple and the other was engaged in performing other activities. The income from the shops in the temple would go to one group and income from temple activities to the other group.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic situation, the two groups were unable to earn proper income and a commercial dispute arose between them. Chidambaram and Nataraja Perumal were attacked by an armed gang, the court was told. Considering the facts and the circumstances in the case, the court declined to grant bail to the accused.

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