|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
"We beat Veerappan at his own game"
M D Riti in Bangalore | October 20, 2004 15:57 IST
Last Updated: October 20, 2004 16:09 IST
Legend has it that Veerappan only had to sniff the air to detect any approaching danger. Such was his familiarity of the jungle and movements within it. So how did the Tamil Nadu special task force over this and manage to nail him? And who succeeded finally to get him, the Tamil Nadu STF or its Karnataka counterpart?
"There is no such thing as Karnataka STF or Tamil Nadu STF. It's all one big STF with the same objective," said Jyotiprakash Mirji, head of the Karnataka unit. "It was a Herculean task but we pulled it off. We worked together and caught this brigand," he said.
Karnataka Chief Minister Dharam Singh echoed this opinion when he spoke to his Tamil Nadu counterpart J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday morning.
"You took a lot of trouble and interest, and your Vijaykumar managed to track down Veerappan," said Singh was heard telling Jayalalithaa on his cellphone in Bangalore. "I called up to congratulate you. Are you going to Dharmapuri yourself? I just came back from Delhi this morning, so have not yet decided what to do yet."
Jayalalitha's voice was quite audible to the assembled journalists as she replied during their brief telephone conversation.
"The Karnataka government spent over Rs 20 cr on this operation," said Singh, disconnecting his phone. "I am glad it is finally over! However, I will definitely have a thorough investigation into all Veerappan's political connections."
"We were ready, and stepped in at the right moment," said Mirji, head of the STF in Karnataka. "We shot him at 11.45 pm. The four men are definitely Veerappan, Chandre Gowda, Sethu and Govindan; we have no doubt that's who they are! We are so glad that we finally succeeded after so many years! We got great support from both the state governments."
Life in the STF was very tough, and some members have been part of it for a dozen years. In Tamil Nadu, policemen volunteered to be absorbed into the STF, while in Karnataka, the personnel were directly appointed. However, this did not make any difference to either side's commitment, Mirji said.
Search operations in the jungles sometimes extended for days and involved arduous treks for miles with heavy equipment and low rations. When it was dark, the STF personnel had to take care to shine torches only on the area in front of their feet.
Their patience and hard work paid off on Monday night with the killing of Veerappan.
More reports from Karnataka
Read about: Telgi case | H Nagappa Abduction