Elusive associate of slain forest brigand Veerappan held

Erode (TN): A close associate of slain forest brigand Veerappan, evading the police for past 11 years in a police station attack case in Tamil Nadu, was arrested by the Special Task Force personnel in the district.

Rasu (32) was arrested yesterday following investigations by the STF and Anthiyur forest personnel into an incident of elephant poaching in the area, police said.

STF sources said Rasu was a close associate of Veerappan, killed in an encounter by the STF in October, 2004. Rasu had accompanied the dreaded sandalwood smuggler in his attack on the Vellitirupur police station on December 20, 1998.

Veerappan and his gang had taken away nine muskets and a revolver from the police station after immobilising four policemen present there. Rasu was absconding since then.

He was arrested following investigations into the death of an elephant, found by Anthiyur forest personnel on Dec 16 at Kallipali near Vellitirupur village with its tusks removed.

A search was launched to locate the poachers and they arrested Rasu and his accomplices Perumal and Madeswaran and seized two big tusks from them. One more person was wanted in connection with the incident.

Police said the arrested trio admitted that they had shot dead the elephant and removed the tusks with the help of an axe. They were remanded to judicial custody by a court today.