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Nine acquitted in late Kannada actor Rajkumar’s abduction case by Tamil Nadu court

Rajkumar, a Kannada matinee idol, was abducted when he was staying at his farmhouse in Thalavadi near Ganjanur of Erode district by bandit Veerappan and his gang on July 30, 2000.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2018 20:44 IST
M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Rajkumar’s abduction case,Tamil Nadu,Kannada actor Rajkumar
The actor was released by Veerappan after 108 days on November 15, 2000.(Representative image)

Nine persons accused of abducting Kannada actor Rajkumar along with notorious dacoit Veerappan in 2000 were acquitted by a local court in Tamil Nadu for want of evidence.

K Mani, additional district judge of the court in Gobichettipalayam of Erode, said there was no evidence to prove that the accused were connected with Veerappan and his close aide Sethukkuzhi Govindan. “Therefore, I acquit all the nine men from the case.”

Maran, Iniyan, Andril, Sathya, Nagaraj, Puttusamy, Rama, Basavanna and Govindaraj were set free after 18 years.

Rajkumar, a Kannada matinee idol, was abducted when he was staying at his farmhouse in Thalavadi near Ganjanur of Erode district by bandit Veerappan and his gang on July 30, 2000.

Along with Rajkumar, an assistant director Nagappa, Rajkumar’s son-in-law S A Govindaraju and one of his close aides were also kidnapped.

They were set free after several rounds of talks with mediators RR Gopal, editor of Nakkheeran Tamil weekly magazine and Tamil nationalist Pazha Nedumaran after 108 days of abduction on November 15, 2000, as the sandalwood smuggler’s demands, which were publicly not disclosed, were met.

Karunakaran, an aide of Veerappan had revealed that both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka police had paid Rs 40 crores as ransom to rescue Rajkumar, during a narco test conducted in Bengaluru in 2006, a charge denied by both the states.

The CBCID had named 12 people, including Veerappan, and his close aide Sethukuzhi Govindan, and charged them with kidnapping, ransom and other sections of the IPC and the Arms Act.

Veerappan and his aide Sethukkuzhi Govindan were shot dead by a special force in 2004. The actor died of a cardiac arrest in April 2006.

Rangasamy, another accused, died before the framing of charges in 2011 after “extensive investigations”.

The abduction triggered tensions between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as violence against erupted against Tamilians in Bengaluru.

Though S M Krishna and M Karunanidhi, the then chief ministers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu respectively, made efforts to rescue Rajkumar from Veerappan, they found it difficult to communicate with him.

Karunanidhi then sent R R Gopal and Pazha Nedumaran for mediation.

First Published: Sep 25, 2018 20:43 IST