Veerappan’s wealth not accessed by Maoists: Police

July 1st, 2008 - 8:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharmapuri (Tamil Nadu), July 1 (IANS) Rumours of the late forest brigand Veerappan’s stashed wealth being accessed by Maoist guerrillas were discounted Tuesday by a police official who also denied reports of renewed Maoist activity in the border districts of Karnataka. Superintendent of Police Nazmal Hodha told IANS: “We want to be on our toes, the Maoists on their heels and keep the blood warm.”

Reacting to reports in the local media of frenetic Maoist activity in the light of the capture of a dozen Maoists with minor arms 10 days ago, Hodha termed it a figment of imagination by a section of the media.

“The fact is that Tamil Nadu is one state where Maoist violence is the lowest in the country. Some of the credit for this achievement should go to the police. That said, we are ready for any eventuality and say with confidence that we will not be surprised,” said Hodha.

Rumours about the stashed wealth of forest brigand Veerappan, who the police gunned down Oct 18, 2004, being accessed by Maoists were discounted by Hodha.

“While it is generally believed that Veerappan made a lot of money looting the natural wealth and through other questionable deals, there is no evidence to pin it down to facts, names, places, bank accounts or buried stashes.

“However, if the local Maoists had suddenly got a lot of money from Veerappan’s ill-gotten wealth, thanks to our well-oiled information machine we would have known. Fortunately for us, the rumours are not true,” Hodha added.

AIADMK chief and former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa has repeatedly claimed that Veerappan earned millions of rupees by kidnapping the late Kannada movie icon Raj Kumar and former minister H. Nagappa. While the former was released unharmed, the latter was killed in the forest in controversial circumstances.

According to police sources, despite reports of Veerappan’s illegal wealth, his widow Muthulakshmi and daughters lead a lower middle class existence.

In the past two years, over 60 Maoists have been arrested in various parts of Tamil Nadu. At least three of them were gunned down in gun battles termed fake by human rights activists.

The police seized rocket-propelled grenade launcher parts manufactured on the outskirts of Chennai, 300 km to the northeast, bound for neighbouring Andhra Pradesh in April 2007.

Since 1980, over 140 Maoists have been gunned down in Vellore, Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts of Tamil Nadu.

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