Even as suspense over the execution of the four Veerappan aides began to build up, inmates of Hindalga jail in Belgaum, who were anxious to know the fate of the four, were not given newspapers or allowed to watch television.
Belgaum was abuzz with rumours on Saturday that Gnanaprakash, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran would be hanged early on Sunday.
The jail staff like the warden, meal suppliers and barbers, who routinely interact with the inmates, were given strict orders on Sunday not to speak to inmates.
The convicts who normally help with administrative work, gardening and jobs at the houses of senior officials were not allocated these activities to prevent any information on the possible hanging from being leaked.
Meanwhile, journalists thronged the jail premises following rumours that Veerappan’s wife Muthulakshmi was coming to meet her husband’s gang members.
According to sources, the four men seemed normal after hearing that they could be hanged any moment.
Since the time their mercy petitions were rejected, the health parameters of the four prisoners were being checked regularly with their blood pressure being checked three times a day.
The jail has already ordered for coffins for the four and in case their relatives refuse to accept the bodies, the jail authorities have reportedly decided to bury them inside the jail premises or at the Christian cemetery near the Golf Course.
Meanwhile, Shanti Fonseka, an advocate practising at the Goa High Court, made a vain attempt to meet Bilavendra on whose behalf she wanted to file a petition in the Supreme Court on Sunday. Shanti had tried to meet Bilavendra on Saturday but was not allowed to since she did not have the permission letter from the district judge.
Veerappan’s elder brother Gnanaprakash, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran were awarded death sentence in 2004 in connection with a landmine blast at Palar in 1993 in which 22 police personnel were killed.
Their mercy petition was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee on February 13. The Supreme Court had on Saturday refused urgent hearing on their plea seeking stay of execution.