Sabarimala priest blackmail case: Court holds 8 guilty
Kochi: A local court on Tuesday convicted eight people, including the key accused, in the 2006 Sabarimala temple priest assault and blackmail case.
The Ernakulam Additional Sessions court found Sobha John and seven others guilty in the case and will pronounce the sentence tomorrow.
According to the prosecution, Sobha along with the other accused had hatched a plot and threatened the 'thantri (traditional high priest)' Kandararu Mohanararu at gun point at her flat in Valanjambalam area here and forcibly took away about 40 sovereigns of gold ornaments from him on July 23, 2006. They also photographed him with a woman.
Of the total 11 accused in the case, three are absconding. Mohanararu was sacked as Sabarimala temple tantri after the incident.
Though the thantri had earlier filed a police complaint that he was "abducted", he revised his statement stating that he had gone to John's residence on the pretext of hiring a maid servant.
According to the tantri's complaint, a group of persons had forcibly entered the flat when he was present and attacked and photographed him with a woman. He was also robbed off his ornaments.
The case had gained national attention as Sabarimala is the richest temple in Kerala where millions of devotees from India and abroad throng every year during the pilgrimage season to offer worship to Lord Ayyappa.