Officials at the Central Prison, Hindalga, here are said to be making arrangements for the execution of the four aides of the slain forest brigand Veerappan, whose mercy petitions have been rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee.
While there was no official word on the issue, retired hangman Siddappa Kamble claimed that he has been asked to train prison personnel to carry out the hangings.
After the mercy petition of Saibanna Natikar, convicted for killing his wives and daughter, was rejected by the President in January, Kamble had trained some prison personnel as he was told that he couldn’t carry out the task as he had retired from the service. Saibanna is also lodged at Hindalga jail.
Officials have heightened security at the prison after they learnt on Wednesday that the President has rejected the mercy petitions of Simon from Kollegal in Chamarajanagar, Gnanaprakash from Tandampalam, Bilavendra from Chandanpalya and Madaiah from Mettur.
Even the relatives of other prison inmates too were denied permission to meet their jailed kin. Media too has been kept at a bay. Prison Superintendent C Veerbhadraswamy has directed the guards at the prison gates not to allow media personnel inside.
He too was not accessible to the media. Despite being available in his office, Veerbhadraswamy’s subordinates stated that he was busy in a meeting, doing rounds and visiting deputy commissioner’s office. Sources said that prison officials have been directed not to divulge any information or solicit phone calls from journalists.
The four associates of Veerappan were accused of killing 22 people, using improvised landmine at Palar near Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border in 1993. The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court in Mysore had convicted them and three of their associates and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
The sentences of the four was increased to death by the Supreme Court on January 29, 2004 on an appeal by the State. They were brought to the Central Prison here on February 10, 2004 and they filed their mercy petitions two days later.