News: Veerappan releases a hostage, TN CM feels Rajkumar’s release can happen any time now!

In what the Tamil Nadu government feels is a prelude to the release of Rajkumar, Govindaraj, the son-in-law of the Kannada actor, who was abducted along with the actor by brigand Veerappan, was released on Monday evening.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said “there are expectations” that Kannada thespian Rajkumar may be released either tonight or tomorrow. He dismissed as a “creation of the media” reports that Rajkumar, who along with three others were abducted by Veerappan on July 30, had already been released by forest brigand.

But police sources have raised apprehension about the release of Rajkumar. Sources said the team of emissaries _ Gopal, Tamil Nationalist Movement (TNM) leader P Nedumaran, human rights activist Prof Kalyani of Villupuram and Pondicherry PUCL Secretary G Sukumaran _ were returning to Chennai. The released hostage, Govindaraju, is being taken to Bangalore.

Sources here believe that Veerappan, the Tamil National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Tamil National Retrieval Troops (TNRT) were keen on the release of 121 TADA detenus languishing in Mysore jail and the five Tamil extremists in Tamil Nadu prisons to set free Rajkumar and the other hostage, Nagesh. The Supreme Court will tomorrow hear the petition filed by Abdul Kareem, father of an Special Task Force officer who was killed by the brigand, which demanded a stay on the decision of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments to release the TADA detenues.

The release of Govindaraju might be a gesture of goodwill towards TNM leader Nedumaran, who along with others had joined Gopal on his fifth mission, the sources said. Govindaraj was the second of the four hostages to enjoy freedom. Assistant film director Nagappa escaped from the forest few days ago.

Indian Express / 17.10.2000.

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