Cause of death
₹5 crore (equivalent to ₹11 crore or US$1.5 million in 2016)
Muthulakshmi (m. 1990–2004)
Koose Muniswamy Veerappan
18 October 2004 (aged 52), Papparapatti, Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu, India
Veerappan (चन्दन तस्कर वीरप्पन) Story in Hindi | Death | Operation Cocoon
Koose Munisamy Veerappan (18 January 1952 – 18 October 2004), commonly known only as Veerappan, was a notorious Indian brigand and dacoit. He was active for nearly 30 years in the scrub lands and forests in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
- Veerappan Story in Hindi Death Operation Cocoon
- DGP Vijayakumar Nakkheeran Gopal Speech
- Criminal life
- Palar blast
- Special Task Force
- Kidnap of Rajkumar
- Kidnap of Nagappa
- Ransom demands
- Political support
- Film and television
வீரப்பன் இறந்தது எப்படி? DGP Vijayakumar சொல்லும் பொய்! Nakkheeran Gopal Speech
Veerappan was a member of the Vanniyar community. Veerappan married Muthulakshmi who reportedly appreciated his "notoriety and moustache" and married him because of that. As of 2004, his two daughters, Vidya Rani (born c. 1990) and Prabha (born c. 1993), were studying in Tamil Nadu.
Veerappan started as an assistant to his relative Saalvai Gounder, a notorious poacher and Sandalwood smuggler. His father and relatives, whose village lay in the forest area, were also known to be poachers and smugglers. Veerappan began his career in crime in 1970 and was first arrested in 1972.
Veerappan initially developed as a sandalwood and ivory smuggler, killing elephants for the latter. He later started killing those who resisted his activities. He committed his first murder at the age of 17 and his victims tended to be police officers, forest officials, and informants.
In 1987, Veerappan kidnapped and murdered a forest officer named Chidambaram from Tamil Nadu. This first brought him to the Indian Government's attention. Among his best-known killings are a senior IFS officer named Pandillapalli Srinivas in November 1991, and an ambush of a police party including a senior IPS officer, Harikrishna, among others, in August 1992.
Veerappan was not averse to killing civilians, and killed a man from his native village for having once travelled in a police jeep. He regularly killed anyone suspected of being a police informer. Because of political instability, Veerappan could easily escape from one state to another.
In Govindapadi, Mettur, Veerappan killed a Bandari suspected of being a police informer, and a 41-member team of police and forestry officials were called in to investigate. On 9 April 1993, landmines were detonated underneath the two vehicles the team was travelling in. The blast occurred at Palar, near Malai Mahadeswara Hills, present Chamarajanagar district, Karnataka, and killed 22 members of the team. Known as the Palar blast, this was his single largest mass killing.
Special Task Force
In 1990, the Karnataka and the Tamil Nadu Governments formed a Special Task Force to catch Veerappan. It was headed in Tamil Nadu by Sanjay Arora and in Karnataka by Shankar Bidri with Walter Devaram as the joint chief. In February 1992, his lieutenant Gurunathan was killed by the Karnataka task force, with SI Shakeel Ahmed single-handedly responsible for the capture. Three months later, Veerappan attacked the Ramapura police station in the Chamarajanagar district in Karnataka, killing several policemen and capturing arms and ammunition. In August 1992, Veerappan laid a trap for SI Shakeel Ahmed, killing him along with five others. The Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Special Task Forces then began intensified combing operations along the two states' border areas and also around Gopinatham village, Veerappan's birthplace.
Through these operations, the combined Special Task Force discovered that Veerappan's gang was down to only five members. Meetings with Gopinatham villagers were held, and the 5-crore bounty was announced. In 1993, the task force arrested Veerappan's wife, Muthulakshmi, and charged her with aiding, but she was acquitted of all charges.
Kidnap of Rajkumar
On 30 July 2000, Veerappan kidnapped actor Rajkumar and three others from Dodda Gajanur, a village in Erode district near the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border where the film star was attending his housewarming ceremony. Public outcry and violence ensued in Bangalore as well as other parts of Karnataka. A bandh, or strike, also occurred on 22 September in Bangalore. Karnataka's Chief Minister and police personnel sought the help of Tamil Nadu Government and visited Chennai seeking help. Negotiations were conducted and R. Gopal, an editor of the Tamil magazine Nakkeeran, was involved in several rounds of talks with Veerappan. Gopal had earlier visited Veerappan for similar negotiations, and visited the forest several times for videotaped discussions. Veerappan demanded justice for Tamil Nadu in the Cauvery Water dispute, as well as making Tamil the second official language of Karnataka and the release of certain Tamil extremists jailed in Tamil Nadu. Rajkumar was held for 108 days and finally released without harm in November 2000. A police official later suggested that 20 crore rupees had been paid by Karnataka government for his release.
Kidnap of Nagappa
On 25 August 2002, Veerappan abducted H. Nagappa, a former minister of Karnataka, from his village house in Chamarajanagar district. Nagappa had been a minister for Agricultural Marketing from 1996 to 1999. The Joint Special task forces of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu worked with the Kerala police to help release Nagappa. An encounter to release him failed, and Nagappa was found dead three months later in a Karnataka forest. The reward offered by the Karnataka state government was then increased to 50 crore rupees.
For several years during the 1990s, Veerappan kidnapped police officials and other personalities and demanded ransom money. It is believed that ransoms were often unofficially paid. In July 1997, he kidnapped nine forest officials in the Burude forests in Chamarajanagar district. In that case, the hostages were released unharmed a few weeks later even though his ransom demand was not met. It is also believed that Veerappan buried large amounts of money in various parts of the forest, and in 2002 police recovered 3.3 million rupees from his gang members.
During his later years, Veerappan got political support from Tamil nationalist organisations like Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), a political party predominantly of the Vanniyar caste to which Veerappan belonged. Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. Karunanidhi of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was a known sympathiser of Veerappan and his aides, and demanded the removal of the death penalty for four of Veerappan's aides as soon the sentence was given to them in 2013. Karunanidhi also extended the 31 October 1997 deadline for Veerappan's surrender and postponed Special Task Force (STF) police action by few days saying, "it is not far too late for Veerappan to surrender". Banned organisations like the Tamil National Retrieval Troops (TNRT) and Tamil Nadu Liberation Army (TNLA, a front in Tamil Nadu for LTTE) helped Veerappan to secure a Robin Hood image and to draft terms of negotiations when he kidnapped prominent people. Kolathur Mani, president of Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam, formerly the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) party, supported Veerappan and was booked by police as an accomplice in several of Veerappan's crimes.
On 18 October 2004, Veerappan and two of his associates were killed by the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force headed by K Vijay Kumar.
The killing happened near the village of Papparapatti in Dharmapuri district, Tamil Nadu. Veerappan and his men were lured into an ambulance by an undercover policeman under the pretext of taking them to Dharmapuri for medical treatment. The Tamil Nadu Special Task Force, which had been observing his movements for several months, surrounded the ambulance, and the gangsters were killed in the ensuing gunfight.
The entire operation was named Operation Cocoon and Veerappan's associates Sethukuli Govindan, Chandre Gowdar and Sethumani were also killed in the operation.
His death was described as the "death of a demon" by The Guardian. The villagers of Gopinatham celebrated with firecrackers on hearing the news.
Several human rights outfits, which rallied under the banner of the Centre for Protection of Civil Liberties (CPCL), claimed that circumstantial evidence indicated that Veerappan was murdered by police after being tortured. Since Veerappan's death, Gopinatham has been promoted as a destination for ecotourism by the Karnataka State Department of Forest and Tourism.
Veerappan was buried at a village named Moolakadu, Tamil Nadu, as his family members were more attached to it and most of his relatives in Gopinatham had left. The police had planned a cremation but decided on a burial after objections from Veerappan's relatives. Thousands of people turned out for the burial, while others were kept away by heavy security.
Timeline of Veerappan's activities: