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Resting place
Criminal charge

18 January 1952[1]
Gopinatham, Karnataka[2]
18 October 2004 (aged 52)[1]
Papparapatti, Tamil Nadu
Moolakadu, Tamil Nadu.

Veerapan[3] (18 January 1952 18 October 2004), commonly known as Veerappan or

Sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, was an Indian bandit (also called a dacoit in India) who was
active for years in scrub and forest lands covering about 6,000 km in the states of Karnataka,
Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
For over a decade, Veerappan defied the state governments of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala
and Indian Border security paramilitary forces,[4] and even maintained a small army, which at one
point numbered hundreds. He was wanted for killing approximately 184 people, about half of
whom were police officers, including senior police and forest officials.[5] He was also wanted for
poaching about 200 elephants and smuggling ivory worth US$2,600,000 and about 10,000
tonnes of sandalwood worth approximately US$22,000,000.
A reward of 50 million (US$790,000) was offered for Veerappan's capture, yet he evaded arrest
for 20 years until he was killed by police in 2004.[6]


1 Early years
o 1.1 Family

2 Criminal life
o 2.1 Palar blast
o 2.2 Special Task Force
o 2.3 Kidnap of Rajkumar
o 2.4 Kidnap of H. Nagappa
o 2.5 Ransom demands

3 Political support

4 Death

5 Timeline
o 5.1 Total killings

6 Media Usage
o 6.1 Film and television
o 6.2 Books

7 See also

8 References

Early years

Veerappan leading his gang of dacoits in Meenyam forest, Kollegal Taluk

Veerappan was born on 19 January 1952, in the village of Gopinatham to a Tamil-speaking
Vanniyar family[7] of cattle-grazers. He was known as "Molakai" as a child, and suffered from
asthma.[8] Veerappan was inspired by Maleyur Mammattiyan, a notorious bandit from Mecheri,
Salem district, who was active during the 1950s and 1960s. Mammattiyan was killed in an intergang fight and Veerappan's first murder was of Mammattiyan's killer's brother.[7]

Veerappan married Muthulakshmi and is said to have strangled one of their children soon after
birth because she was their third successive girl.[2] His wife reportedly appreciated his "notoriety
and mustache" and married him because of that.[2] As of 2004, his two other daughters were
studying in Tamil Nadu.[9]

Criminal life
Veerappan started as an assistant to his relative Sevi Gounder, a notorious poacher and
sandalwood smuggler.[8] 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.[2]
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 informers.[4]
In 1987, Veerappan kidnapped and murdered a forest officer named Chidambaram from Tamil
Nadu. This first brought him the Indian Government's attention.[10][11] Among his well-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.[10] He regularly killed anyone suspected of being a police
informer. Because of political instability, Veerappan could easily escape from one state to

Palar blast

In Govindapadi, Mettur, Veerappan killed a Bandari suspected of being a police informer, and a
41-member team of police and forestry officials was called in. On 9 April 1993, a landmine was
detonated against the two vehicles this team was travelling in. The blast occurred at Palar, near
Malai Mahadeswara Hills, Karnataka, and killed 22 members of the team. Known as the Palar
blast, this was his single largest mass killing.[13]

Special Task Force

In 1990, the Karnataka and the Tamil Nadu Governments formed a Special Task Force to catch
Veerappan.[4] 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, 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.[14]
Through these operations, the combined Special Task Force discovered that Veerappan's gang
was down to only five members.[14][15] Meetings with Gopinatham villagers were held, and the 5crore bounty was announced.[15]

Indian actor Rajkumar was kidnapped by Veerappan in 2000. He was held for more than 100
days before his release.
In 1993, the task force arrested Veerappan's wife, Muthulakshmi, and charged her with aiding,[16]
but she was acquitted of all charges.

Kidnap of Rajkumar
On 30 July 2000, Veerappan kidnapped a famous Kannada actor, Rajkumar, and three others
from Dodda Gajanur, a village near the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border where the film star was
attending a housewarming ceremony.[17][18][19] Public outcry and violence ensued in Bangalore as
well as other parts of Karnataka.[19] 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.[19] 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,[8] 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.[21] Rajkumar was held for 109 days and finally
released without harm in November 2000. A police official later suggested that 300,000,000
rupees ($6.5m) had been paid for his release.[18][22]

Kidnap of H. Nagappa
On 25 August 2002, Veerappan abducted H. Nagappa, a former minister of Karnataka, from his
village house in Chamarajanagara District.[23] Nagappa was a minister for Agricultural Marketing
from 1996 to 1999.[23] The Joint Special task forces of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu worked with
the Kerala police to help release Nagappa.[24] An encounter to release him failed, and Nagappa
was found dead three months later in a Karnataka forest.[25] The reward offered by the Karnataka
state government was then increased to 5,00,00,000 rupees (US$1.25 million).

Ransom demands
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.[19] In July
1997, he kidnapped nine forest officials in the Burude forests in Chamarajanagara 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 Rs. 3.3 million from his gang members.[26]

Political support
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.[27] 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.[28] 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".[29] 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.[21] Kolathur Mani, president of Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam,
formerly the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) party,[30] supported Veerappan and was booked
by police as an accomplice in several of Veerappan's crimes, including the Palar blast case.[17]

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[25]
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 gun battle.[25]
The entire operation was named Operation Cocoon and Veerappan's associates Sethukuli
Govinda, Chandre Gowda and Sethumani were also killed in the operation.[27] His death was
described as the "death of a demon" by The Guardian.[2] The villagers of Gopinatham celebrated
with firecrackers on hearing the news.[10] Since Veerappan's death, the village has been promoted
as a destination for ecotourism by the Karnataka State Department of Forest and Tourism.[32]
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.[33] The police had planned a
cremation but decided on a burial after objections from Veerappan's relatives.[33] Thousands of
people turned out for the burial, while others were kept away by heavy security.[33][34]

This section's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia.
See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. (December 2014)
Timeline of Veerappan's activities:

1962: Veerappans first crime. He is just 10 when he guns down a tusker with the help of
his Guru Sevi Gounder at Gopinatham. Nabs three forest officials and kills them.

1970: Joined a gang of poachers.

27 August 1983 : Killed K.M.Prithvi, (25) forest guard near Mavukal, Ponnampet,
Kodagu, Karnataka when the guard tried to prevent elephant poaching by the gang and he
was the first forest official killed by Veerappan.[35]

1986: Arrested and lodged at Boodipada forest guest house but escaped under mysterious
circumstances (reportedly bribed a police officer).[citation needed]

26 August 1986 : Killed Siddarama Naik, a forest watcher at Alegowdana Katte,

Gundlupet, Karntaka.[35]

1987: Kidnapped and hacked Tamil Nadu forest officer Chidambaram. Kidnapped and
killed 5 members of a rival gang.[11]

1989: Killed three forest personnel after 15 days of abducting them from Begur forest

9 April 1990: Killed three police SI Dinesh, Jagannath, Ramalingu and police constable
Shankara Rao near Hogenakal.[35] The Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments constitute

Special Task Force (STF) to catch Veerappan.[10] Shot and beheaded Karnataka deputy
conservator of forests, Srinivas,[10] as revenge for Veerappan's sister Mala's suicide (the
victim's head was traced three years later).

1991: Abducted son of a granite quary owner and demanded ransom of Rs. 10 million;
released him for a ransom of Rs. 1.5 million.[11]

1992: Attacked a police station in Ramapura, killing five policemen, injuring two and
stealing arms and ammunition.[36] STF killed two gang members in retaliation.

14 August 1992: Trapped and killed Mysore District SP, T.Harikrishna, SI Shakeel
Ahmed and four constables named Benegonda, C.M.Kalappa, Sundara and M.P.Appachu,
through a false informant near Meenyam in Karnataka.[35]

25 January 1993: Veerappan and his gang had a close encounter and missed by whisker
the police team headed by "Rambo" Gopalakrishnan, Police officer from Tamil Nadu;
one of his gang members and close associate Antony Raj was gunned down.[37]

1993: Border Security force (BSF) was deployed to hunt Veerappan but it felt that
language was main barrier to carry out successful operation.[37] Deployment of Border
Security Force (of Central Government) was disliked by Tamil Nadu Government.[37]
Veerappan killed about 20 combatants of BSF.[37]

1993: April : Trapped and blew a Tamil Nadu bus carrying police, forest officials and
civilians, using a landmine, which killed 22 civilians and police[11] and this incident is
known as Palar blast.[13]

24 May 1993: Killed 6 policemen K.M.Uthappa, Prabhakara, Poovaiah, Machaiah,

Swamy and Narasappa of STF commander Gopal Hosur's party and injured the police
commander near Rangaswamy vaddu, M.M.Hills, Karnataka.[11][35] Tamil Nadu
government deploys Border Security Force (BSF). Joint operations of BSF and STF
arrested 9 gang members and killed 6. Three policemen were killed. Veerappan requested
amnesty. Victim's relatives opposed any type of government negotiations.

1994: Abducted Chidambaranathan, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Coimbatore and

two others.[19]

1995: In November, kidnapped three forest department officials of Tamil Nadu.[19]

1996: Killed a police informer. Killed another 19 police personnel. Wounded police
official Tamilselvan and killed a constable as revenge for the suicide of Veerappan's
brother Arjunan in police custody.

1997: The gang kidnapped wildlife photographers Senani and Krupakar. Veerappan
apparently killed 'Baby Veerappan', a gang member, who had visions to succeed

Veerappan.[27] Kidnapped and released another photographers Senani and Krupakar.

Kidnapped and executed nine Karnataka forest officials from Burude forests.

1998: Kidnapped Prof.Krishnasamy, A.S.Mani - editor "Netikan", Payumpuli reporter

and Richard Mohan photographer. Special Task Force released them after combing

2000: Kidnapped Kannada film actor Dr. Rajkumar. Released him after 109 days

2002: Kidnapped and allegedly killed former Karnataka minister H. Nagappa. There are
other sources, including police of Karnataka who claim that the bullet in the body of the
former minister was from a rifle used by the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force (possibly the
rifle used was stolen from Tamil Nadu task force or cross fire could have caused his

2004: Killed by Tamil Nadu Special Task Force members at a checkpost, when the bandit
was travelling in an ambulance driven by disguised policeman as driver.[25]

Total killings
More than 119 killings, including civilians, forest officials, police personnel and foreign research
student are officially recorded.

Media Usage
Film and television

Jungle: a Ram Gopal Varma film on slain bandit Veerappan[39][40]

There were scores of regional films in Tamil and Kannada with Veerappan as its
antagonist like the Tamil movie Captain Prabhakaran and Kannada movie Veerappan, all
of which were super hits.

Makkal TV aired a TV serial based on Veerappan's life called Sandhanakaadu (means

sandalwood forest in Tamil). Karate Raja played Veerappan and Goutham directed the
serial. The serial shed some light on the other side of Veerapan as well as their own
version of how Veerapan was killed by poisoning.

The Malayalam actor Mamukkoya did the title role in the comedy film Korappan, The
Great (2001). This film was just a satire and has no connection with the original person

The character of Veeraiya (played by Vikram) in the Tamil film Raavanan (2010)
(Raavan in Hindi) resembles strongly the life of Veerappan.[citation needed]

The 2012 dual-language film - Attahasa in Kannada and as Vana Yuddham in Tamil is
based on the life of Veerappan whose character is played by Kishore.


Veerappan: India's Most Wanted Man by Sunaad Raghuram. The film Let's Kill
Veerappan is based on a chapter in this book.

Birds, Beasts and Bandits: 14 days with Veerappan is a book written by Krupakar and
Senani, who were kidnapped by Veerappan in 1998.

See also


Phoolan Devi



"Saravanan Jayabalan".
Oliver, Mark (19 October 2004). "Death of a 'demon'". The Guardian.
"Bandit's footprints". The Economic Times. TNN. 19 October 2004. Retrieved 11
December 2012.
timesofindia, com. (19 October 2004). "How Veerappan was shot dead". The Times of
India. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
"Veerappan - The Man Behind 120 Murders: Special". Retrieved 19 September 2010.
"Police kill India's 'Robin Hood' - Oct 18, 2004". 19 October 2004. Retrieved
19 September 2010.
Guha, Nandini (2002). "The rise and rise of Veerappan". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 28
March 2013.
Harding, Luke (5 August 2000). "In the lair of India's asthmatic bandit king". London:
Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
Illangovan, R (22 October 2004). "Leave us in peace, say Veerappan's daughters". The
Hindu. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
R, Ilangovan (20 October 2004). "A relieved Gopinatham breathes easy". The Hindu.
Retrieved 13 September 2012.

"Veerappan : End of three decades of terror". Coimbatore: The Times of India. 19

October 2004. Retrieved 12 September 2012. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
Estevez, Benita. Smugglers. R.W.Press. ISBN 9781909284081. Retrieved 22 February
Aravind, H M (14 February 2013). "Why Veerappan planned the Palar blast". The Times
of India. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
V.S., Palaniyappan (27 January 2003). "STF planning to corner Veerappan near
Gopinatham". The Hindu.
Times Net work (28 January 2003). "STF tries to lure villagers". The Times of India.
Retrieved 13 September 2012.
Shiva Kumar, M T (26 April 2011). "Muthulakshmi to bring out book on 'police
atrocities'". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
"Veerappan's widow Muthulakshmi acquitted in actor Rajkumar kidnap case". India
Today. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
"'Treasure hunt' for bandit's loot". BBC News. 22 October 2004. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
Ravi, Sharma (518 August 2000). "Veerappan's Prize Catch". Frontline Magazine,
Chennai. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
"I have tried to be as truthful as possible". The Hindu. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 26
August 2012.
Nambath, Suresh (20 October 2004). "Veerappan as "Robin Hood"". The Hindu.
Retrieved 28 February 2013.
News archives of Dr.Rajkumar kidnap incident
. 26 August 2002
newsid=14148. Retrieved 22 February 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
PTI (28 August 2002). "Kerala Police to help STF in operation against Veerappan". The
Times of India. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
"How Veerappan was shot dead". The Times of India. 19 October 2004. Retrieved 11
September 2012. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
K.T., Sangameswaran (21 October 2004). "`Ransoms' remain a mystery". The Hindu.
Retrieved 19 February 2013.
Nambath, Suresh (31 October 2004). "Jungle Drama". The Hindu. Retrieved 28 February
Nairita (18 February 2013). "Death Penalty:Why DMK chief seeks Karuna for Veerappan
aides". One India news. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
Subramanian, T.S. (1528 November 1997). "Back to an offencive". Frontline. Retrieved
28 February 2013.
TNN (19 August 2012). "Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) splits into two parties". The
Times of India. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
M.B.Maramkal, Bansy Kalappa (20 October 2004). "Veerappan Brigand's last run". The
Times of India. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
V, Paneesha (14 May 2011). "Have fun in Veerappan territory". The Hindu. Retrieved 13
September 2012.
R, Illangovan (21 October 2004). "Veerappan buried after wrangling". The Hindu.
Retrieved 18 February 2013.
Independent: Koose Muniswamy Veerappan: The Bandit King

Subrahmanya, K.V. (20 October 2004). "Police had 15 encounters with brigand". The
Hindu. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
Dinakar, C (2003). Veerappan's prize catch : Rajkumar. Delhi: Konark Publishers Pvt ltd.
p. 145. ISBN 9788122006445.
N. R. Madhava Menon,, D. Banerjea (2001). Criminal Justice, India series, Vol.16 16.
New Delhi: Allied Publishers. p. 146,147. ISBN 9788177645194.
Reporter, Staff (29 April 2009). ""Nakeeran" Gopal acquitted". The Hindu. Retrieved 27
August 2012.
"Film on slain bandit Veerappan". The Times of India. 16 June 2008. Retrieved 19
September 2010.
"Window2india". Window2india. Retrieved 19 September 2010.




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