Police trapped Veerappan using his businessman contact who had secret links with Sri Lanka-based Tamil radicals
Posted on February 3rd, 2017

| TNN Courtesy The Times of India

CHENNAI: An influential businessman who had secret links with Sri Lanka-based Tamil radicals was helping forest brigand Veerappan with information and, probably, arms. What’s more, the same man, when threatened with exposure over his Lankan links, helped the Special Task Force trap and gun down the bandit 12 years ago.

Veerappan ruled the forests across three states for more than three decades, poaching elephants, felling sandalwood trees and killing just about anyone who came in his way. He was killed by the STF on October 18, 2004.

Sources part of the operation told TOI that the businessman in question was a well-respected citizen. An STF informer, who had managed to gain access to Veerappan and acted as a messenger for the gang, stunned the cops by dropping the “bombshell” of the businessman’s name. The 52-year-old bandit, whose eyesight was failing, had wanted the businessman to procure some guns and arrange for a cataract surgery.

When the informer called the businessman and gave the password Veerappan had given, the businessman asked him to come to a guest house in another town. The STF wired up the informer for the meeting and listened in to the conversation. Referring to Veerappan as Anna (elder brother), the businessman inquired about his health. When the informer told him that the bandit needed a cataract surgery and some weapons, the businessman agreed to send word through his man.

The moment the informer left the guest house, an STF team in plainclothes stormed in and threatened the businessman that his links with Lankan extremists would be out. When the STF men offered him an amnesty scheme if he helped them nab Veerappan, the businessman readily agreed.

 The team tutored the businessman: He would send a messenger to Veerappan saying the guns would be arranged through friends in Lanka and a man would escort Veerappan to a hospital in Trichy or Madurai to get his eye operated, after which he would be taken to Lanka. After the arms deal, he would be brought back to India. The businessman wanted to know who would be the escort. He was told not to worry about that.

For this job, K Vijay Kumar, the then head of the STF, brought in sub-inspector Vellaidurai. STF got the businessman to meet a Veerappan aide at a tea shop in Dharmapuri. The aide dramatically tore a lottery ticket into two and gave one bit to the businessman, saying it was “Anna’s travel ticket”. This bit was to be carried by the man who would escort Veerappan to the hospital for the eye surgery after matching the other part of the ticket, which a Veerappan gang member would be carrying.

This turned out to be Veerappan’s one-way ticket to hell. Details of the encounter are expected to be unveiled in Vijay Kumar’s upcoming book, ‘Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand’.

 

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