BENGALURU: Forest brigand Veerappan died nearly two decades ago, but there is still a mystery surrounding his death in 2004. Journalist and author P Sivasubramaniam, who released his book -- Veerappan Saga: Rise and Fall, Part Two, on Friday, said Veerappan had died in an encounter, 40 minutes before the “stage managed” encounter.
But retired DGP Vijayakumar, under whose operation Veerappan was killed and who has authored a celebrated book -- Veerappan Chasing the Brigand, said, “Sivasubramaniam is welcome to have his theory. I am not going to come down and deny it.” Vijaykumar, in his book, recalls how Veerappan and his men, travelling in a van, were asked to surrender, but they fought back. They were eliminated in the encounter that lasted 20 minutes.
Former DGP Shankar Bidari, who as a Special Task Force chief brought down the strength of Veerappan gang from over a hundred to eight, said, “Whatever anyone says needs to be substantiated with evidence. I believe in what Vijay Kumar is saying.”
Retired DCP GA Bava, who worked in MM Hills heading a squad that was part of the STF , said, “How can we believe everything?”
An avid Veerappan buff, Vivek Joyappa, who worked in BR Hills, said, “Everyone would like to know the truth as it was the costliest manhunt ever in the nation’s history. Both theories on how he died gains importance for two reasons. One, the outlaw would never trust anyone to board an ambulance and two, the hand grenade blast doesn’t have evidence.’’
He said, “The police never made the CCTV footage and the encounter FIR public. Also, Veerapan would never allow three of his associates Sethukuli, Chandre Gowda and Sethumani in a single room purportedly to assemble a grenade.”
Sivasubramaniam said, “One person who was with Veerappan and who survived the grenade blast that rendered Veerappan unconscious before his alleged capture and elimination is still around. He knows the truth, but his lips are sealed. It is these people who know the truth who need to talk!”
Nakeeran magazine editor R Gopal is also planning to bring out a book in about a week on his version of the events.