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Jaya fires bandit-link salvo at DMK

Aug. 30: Different responses emerged from the governments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka today as Veerappan continued to hold H. Nagappa hostage six days after he abducted the former Janata Dal minister from his Bangalore farmhouse.

While sources in Karnataka said the S.M. Krishna government was considering the names of two persons who could negotiate with the bandit, Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa trained her guns on former chief minister M. Karunanidhi.

Jayalalithaa said tonight she had directed the state police to probe Karunanidhi’s “mysterious links” with Veerappan after the DMK chief suddenly left for Goa this afternoon with senior colleague Durai Murugan.

Commenting on Karunanidhi’s “suspicions” movements, Jayalalithaa pointed out that Nagappa was abducted after a visit by the DMK leader and Murugan to Bangalore in the first week of August. A “crucial fact” that could not be ignored, she added, was that Murugan, like Veerappan, was also a Vanniyar.

On Karunanidhi’s five-day visit to Goa, the chief minister said she was informed that Murugan had accompanied him this time too. “Initially, they had planned to go to Bangalore. But, apparently, considering the present circumstances which would occasion doubts in the minds of the people, one is driven to infer that they again wished to go to Bangalore under the ostensible purpose of going to Goa,” Jayalalithaa said. “Are they trying to establish contacts with Veerappan… or are they meeting any emissary of the brigand there'”

In Bangalore, the Krishna Cabinet met for two hours but no announcement followed. However, two rumours were floating around — that Veerappan had sent one more cassette spelling out his demands and that names of two probable negotiators were being considered.

Senior police officers said both the rumours have basis. The latest cassette “does contain specific demands”, a source said. The probable negotiators identified are reportedly advocates Venugopal and Subbu Krishna. Venugopal had defended Veerappan’s brother when he was arrested a few years ago.

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