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Meet twist to Nagappa mystery

Bangalore, Dec. 12: The Nagappa abduction and murder case is getting curiouser and curiouser.

The latest startling revelation is that the slain former minister and Veerappan, the forest brigand who had kidnapped him on August 25, had a meeting as late as October 5 with Ponnachi Mahadevaswamy, a Janata Dal leader from Kollegal. Mahadevaswamy was named as a potential negotiator by Veerappan at one point of time during the 106-day hostage crisis.

Mahadevaswamy’s meeting with Veerappan and Nagappa was revealed in the diary kept by the Janata Dal (United) leader during his three-month captivity in the Satyamangalam forests.

The diary was discovered yesterday by a team consisting of Nagappa’s family members, local people and Karnataka’s special task force from the Chengadi forest where Nagappa was found dead on Sunday.

This revelation comes close on the heels of yesterday’s discovery of 27 spent AK-47 cartridges and three spent bullets within 300 yards from where Nagappa was found dead.

The diary, which was found along with the shells yesterday, makes it clear that Veerappan and his gang were not totally out of touch with the outside world. This raises the question whether the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments were aware of this development and if so, how they had responded to it.

The contents of the diary, which is with Nagappa’s family members, have not been revealed fully. But sources close to the slain JD(U) leader’s family confirmed that there is an entry about the meeting with Mahadevaswamy in the forest.

It is not known whether the diary details what was discussed in the meeting. The general impression in the Kollegal region is that Mahadevaswamy must have discussed the terms for Nagappa’s release with the brigand.

The Nagappa family, however, refused to go into details when contacted by The Telegraph.

“Wait for a few days and we will reveal everything,” said Nagappa’s son-in-law Dr Kiran Patel.

Sources close to the family said the diary has entries from August 26 to December 4. Each day’s entry starts with “Om Namashivayya”.

That the entries stop on December 4 suggests that Nagappa could have been killed the following day. The entries also state that Veerappan had changed camps with the hostage 34 times between August 25 and December 4.

The diary also gives an insight into Veerappan’s style of functioning. One entry states that the brigand stays in a safe cave or mountain slope during the day and shifts camp at night.

According to sources close to the family, the diary also revealed the boredom suffered by Nagappa.

“The entries make it clear that he was missing life in the open and his reading. He had also expressed his frustration at the short days and long nights in the forests,” said a person who had gone through portions of the diary.

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