Veerappan saga: Mercy plea of bandit's associates rejected

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New Delhi, Feb 13: It is a coincidence that cannot be overlooked. The mercy petitions of four Veerappan associates, sentenced to death in a landmine blast case, were rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee even as a trilingual film based on the forest brigand is going to be released this week after a legal battle.

The four accused - Gnanprakasham, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran - were sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in Jan 2004 in connection with the killing of 21 policemen in a landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka near the inter-state border in 1993. They were sentenced to undergo life imprisonment by the Mysore court. But the government moved the Supreme Court, which awarded them the death sentence.

A division bench of Justice YK Sabharwal and Justice BN Agrawal had converted the life imprisonment of convicts to death sentence and dismissed the convicts' appeals against the order of conviction passed by a Special TADA court in Karnataka.

Their mercy pleas have been pending since 2004. They are currently lodged in Belgaum jail. The rejection of mercy petition was disclosed by advocate of the convicts S Balamurugan.

Veerappan was killed in an encounter with the Tamil Nadu police in Oct 2004. The trilingual film (Attahasa in Kannada), Veerappan in Telugu and Vanayuddham in Tamil) on Veerappan is directed by AMR Ramesh, and it has finally been cleared for screening. Veerappan's wife Muthulakshmi had taken the director to the court.

Ramesh said the film, cleared by the Madras High Court, would be released commecially on Feb 14 or 15. The movie stars Kishore as Veerappan, Arjun Sarja as STF chief K Vijayakumar, Suresh Oberoi as Rajkumar, Sulakshana as Parvathamma Rajkumar, Jayachitra as Jayalalithaa and Vijayalakshmi as Muthulakshmi.

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