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Nagappa rival offers to mediate

Bangalore, Sept. 12: The Nagappa kidnapping took a new turn today with the hostage’s political rival Raju Gowda, a minister in the Congress government here, offering to negotiate with Veerappan for his release.

The gesture has generated tremendous excitement in and around Hanur, the Assembly constituency where Gowda and H. Nagappa have traditionally locked horns. The minister made the offer after meeting Nagappa’s wife Parimala.

Seventeen days after Veerappan kidnapped the Janata Dal(U) leader from Kamgare, no breakthrough appears in sight. Neither the security agencies nor chief minister S.M. Krishna has reacted to Gowda’s offer.

In the second cassette he sent to the government, Veerappan had said that his sole choice as negotiator was Tamil nationalist leader Kolathur Mani. The brigand had made it clear he would not accept anybody else. However, Veerappan had made a reference to Gowda in the tape.

Listing the factors behind Nagappa’s kidnap, he had said said the Dal (U) leader was a longstanding enemy while the Congress minister was not.

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