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August 3, 2000
STF officer had warned of kidnap risk
M D Riti in Bangalore
"Padmabhushan Dr Rajakumar could be under risk of kidnap from his native village Doddagajanur," warned Special Task Force officer K Arakesh in a report to the Karnataka police and government just over two months ago.
Arakesh, now posted as a commandant in the Central Reserve Police Force in Andhra Pradesh, was then posted with the STF in M M Hills near Mysore. According to police sources in Karnataka, Arakesh even submitted a long report to the government in May, just before he was posted to Hyderabad, listing other celebrities/VIPs whom he considered potential victims of Veerappan.
Dr Rajakumar's name topped the list. Next came Padmashree Dr H Sudarshan, a well-known social activist and founder of the Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra on Biligiri Rangana Hills, next to M M Hills. Third was ex-minister H Nagappa, followed by MLA G Rajugowda, accused some years ago of supporting Veerappan. Also on the list was Kannada chauvinist Vatal Nagaraj, who visited the border areas between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka often.
Persons of similar stature visiting MM Hills, Bandipur and Karapur also run the risk of abduction by Veerappan and his gang, the report said. Veerappan was in a quite depressed state, according to first hand reports from tribals and others visiting the jungles. The time was right for him to attempt some kind of a strike, and this time, he will try to get maximum mileage, said Arakesh. He even went on to recommend that even if none of the `VIPs' asked for protection, it was in the interest of the state to provide security anyway.
Arakesh even suggested that Veerappan might attack police outposts in various villages like Ramapura, Bandipur, Saragur and Bugalur. His report said if Veerappan did kidnap a VIP, he would probably keep him in the northern part of the Nilgiri division of the Satyamangalam forest.
The Rajakumar family has acknowledged that the police warned them of a possible threat to Rajakumar a year ago. If either they had taken it seriously, or if the government had at least taken action on Arakesh's report, it would not have found itself in this tight corner.
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