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Chennai Exclusive News Regional

President rejects mercy pleas of four Veerappan associates

Chennai, Feb 14 (): Mercy pleas rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee of four associates of slain forest brigand Veerappan, were sent to Belgaum jail and conveyed to the convicts, said jail authorities.

The four accused were sent to death row after they were found to be guilty carrying a landmine blast in which 22 people including policemen were killed.

Sources from Home Ministry alleged that the matter has been conveyed to the death row convicts who are lodged in the Belgaun jail. Following the execution of Afzal Guru on Februray 9, the President rejected the mercy petition of the four accused Simon, Gnanprakasam, Bilavendra and Meesaikara Madhaian on February 11.

All the four accused were sentenced to capital punishment by the Supreme Court in January 2004 after they were involved in a landmine blast at Palar in Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border on April 9, 1993, in which 5 policemen, 15 police informers including 2 forest guards were killed. Superintendent of police K Gopalakrishnan who was in charge of the jungle was severely injured along with fourteen other policemen.

A total of 123 men were arrested by the police in connection with the blast and several other cases. Veerappan along with his wife was also accused in the blast case but were absconding. However, the forest brigand was shot dead by the special task force in October 2004. Out of the 123 accused who were arrested in the blast case, 110 were acquitted by the special TADA court in Mysore on September 29, 2001 and seven were sent to life imprisonment, while six others were released later after they served their jail term.

Simon, son of Anthonyappa was believed to be an expert in making bomb. He assisted the gang in setting up landmines at the site.

Gnanaprakash, son of Joseph was one of the close associate of the brigand and was involved in all the criminal activities of Veerappan.

Mesekara Madaiahand and Bilvendra were also close associates of Veerappan.