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August 25, 2000
Dr Rajakumar's release linked to bail of detenus
Fakir Chand in Bangalore
Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna Friday admitted that the release of Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajakumar and three others being held hostage by Veerappan was now linked to the grant of bail to 51 detenus, whose cases would come up for hearing at the Mysore District and Sessions Court on August 28.
On his return from Chennai in the evening, a tired looking Krishna told a crowded press conference that the criminal jurisprudence of the country gave the state executive discretionary powers to drop cases as and when it deemed fit.
"The designated TADA court has already dropped the charges against the 51 accused and transferred their trial to the district and sessions court. The lawyers of the 51 detenus moved the bail applications on Thursday and the case has been posted for hearing on the 28th."
Defending the decision of his government to drop the criminal cases, Krishna referred to a similar decision taken by the previous government in the Bagurnevilli incident in Hassan district.
"We are ready to drop the criminal cases as demanded by Veerappan if that ensures the release of Dr Rajakumar at the earliest," Krishna said. He, however, admitted that the move could be challenged in a court of law.
Asked whether the bail process could further delay the release of Kannada superstar, Krishna said it was up to the court to expedite the matter. He added that the fugitive had set a deadline of five days for Gopal to return to the forests to resume negotiations.
The chief minister revealed that Veerappan had complained that the two governments (TN and Karnataka) were not serious about paying compensation to the victims of police atrocities committed during combing operations conducted by the Special Task Force.
Krishna disclosed that the two states had now set up a Rs 100-million corpus fund to compensate the victims as directed by the Justice Sadashiva Commission and the National Human Rights Commission.
On the directions of the NHRC on June 18 last year, the state government had constituted a two-member panel comprising Justice Sadashiva and ex-CBI director C V Narasimhan to inquire into the alleged STF excesses. However, the setting up of the panel was contested in the Karnataka High Court by the STF, and its proceedings were stayed subsequently.
In the aftermath of Dr Rajakumar's abduction, the state government, however, moved the high court and got the stay on the panel's hearings vacated a fortnight ago.
Asked whether Veerappan had used abusive language in the latest video cassette he had sent with the journalist-emissary Gopal, Krishna evaded a direct answer saying his knowledge of Tamil is limited.
The Kannada Chamber of Film Industry, meanwhile, has resolved not to resume its operations till Dr Rajakumar returns to Bangalore. The Kannada superstar, in one the cassettes sent by Veerappan, had advised KCFI to resume film shootings and recordings.
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