The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Motive focus on politics, clash or cash

Bangalore, Aug. 26: Several theories are doing the rounds on why Veerappan chose to kidnap Janata Dal leader and former Karnataka minister H. Nagappa.

For those in the city with a political orientation, the abduction is an attempt to add strength to Tamil “nationalist” politics. They believe Veerappan will soon demand the release of Tamil politicians like Nedumaran and his journalist friends Kollutoor Mani and Sivasubramanian, who allegedly nurse a soft corner for Tamil “nationalist” politics. Mani and Sivasubramanian were arrested during Tamil Nadu police’s investigation into the operations of the bandit, while Nedumaran was recently arrested under the anti-terror law for making public speeches in support of the LTTE.

In Hanur, from where Nagappa hails, it is a different story. Nagappa’s supporters here believe Veerappan is only trying to settle an old personal feud with the former minister.

Nagappa had publicly campaigned to put Veerappan behind bars while he was a minister in J.H. Patel’s regime, resulting in a depletion of forces in the bandit’s camp.

Veerappan had also supported Nagappa’s rival Raju Gowda of the Congress who had defeated the Janata Dal leader in the last elections. Gowda then went on to become a minister in the current Karnataka government. Not a day passes in Hanur when supporters of the rival leaders do not clash.

The political perspective apart, some believe there is a business angle to the kidnap drama. Nagappa and his family have business interests in several sectors, including wood.

The most mundane of all the theories, perhaps, is that Veerappan ran out of money. Police said after abducting Kannada actor Raj Kumar two years ago, Veerappan had reportedly collected crores of rupees as ransom from the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments. Most of that money was later recovered by Kempaiah, former head of the Karnataka Special Task Force, while he was on his mission to hunt out the bandit.

Police officials said they did not have specific information on Veerappan’s plans to target Nagappa.

The officials added that the Mysore superintendent of police had informed the former minister about the threat to his life and had advised him to take police protection while visiting his home town.

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