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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

The Price Of Freedom

Rajkumar's release might be the result of a huge payoff. And Veerappan might have got all he wanted—and more.

The Price Of Freedom
The Price Of Freedom
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
The way in which Rajkumar—the Kannada film star abducted by Veerappan—was released seems to be more mysterious than his kidnapping three-and-a-half months earlier. With the two state governments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka not willing to disclose the exact nature of the release operation, questions are flying thick and fast. Just who secured the actor's release? At the press conference in Bangalore on Thursday, Rajkumar had said that Dr Bhanu, a physician from Karnataka who owns a granite quarry in Tamil Nadu, had played a key role. But in Chennai, P. Nedumaran, the leader of the Tamil Nationalist Movement, produced a press release signed by Rajkumar saying that the release was secured by the team led by Nedumaran and not by the Bangalore-based doctor. Why should Rajkumar change his stand so quickly?

Intelligence sources say that the secret set of negotiators—comprising Dr Bhanu, Ramkumar, son of a former Karnataka director of police, and P. Shanmuga Sundaram, president of Bangalore Tamil Peravai—who went into the forest to meet Veerappan held the key to the release. It was this group that struck a secret deal with the forest brigand. Among those who played a key role in the rescue operation was Kolathur Mani, a known LTTE sympathiser.

According to an IB official, the presence of Bhanu and Ramkumar, who have extensive interests in quarrying, confirms earlier rumours that one of Rajkumar's sons was involved in illegal quarrying with the help of the sandalwood smuggler, and that the kidnapping itself was the result of a feud over the sharing of the illegal booty. "In a single stroke, Veerappan must have got many things. First, the money which was due to him from Rajkumar's son, the additional money as ransom and medical support in terms of medicines and treatment to his group would also have been provided by Bhanu and her team," avers the IB official....

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