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August 24, 2000
Gopal brings more cassettes, more questions
Fakir Chand in Bangalore
Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna is rushing to Chennai Friday morning to hold talks with his Tamil Nadu counterpart, M Karunanidhi.
R Raja Gopal, the emissary sent by the TN government to hold talks with forest brigand Veerappan, who is holding Kannada film icon Dr Rajakumar and three others hostage, has returned to Madras.
Senior government officials said Gopal has brought more cassettes, both audio and video, from the bandit. Though Veerappan has made no new demands, he has sought government's clarifications on some issues.
Briefing media persons after an extended cabinet meeting Thursday evening, Krishna said Dr Rajakumar has appealed (in one of the cassettes) Kannada film industry to resume operations.
Krishna said he would proceed for Madras Friday morning to finalise his government's next step. He would be accompanied by Home Minister Mallikarujun Kharge, Home Secretary R Srinivasan and Director General of Police C Dinakar.
Krishna, however, declined to spell out the clarifications sought by Veerappan. "After getting first-hand information from Gopal, I will be in a position to share the information with you. At this stage, it would not be prudent on my part to divulge any details on the clarifications sought," he said.
Gopal apparently told Karunanidhi that Krishna's presence in Chennai on Friday was a must for continuing the dialogue with the outlaw for ending the crisis.
Officials hinted that Veerappan was satisfied with the responses of the Karnataka government by and large, and it was the release of five Tamil militants from the neighbouring state that was the delaying the release of the Kannada superstar.
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