'We struggled for surety money, were framed'

'We struggled for surety money, were framed'

Pasuvanna and Nagarajan, who were acquitted, outside the court in Gobichettipalayam, Erode district, on Tuesday. DH Photo/E T B Sivapriyan

 As they stood outside the Gobichettipalayam court on Tuesday, both Nagarajan and Pasuvanna could not hide their joy as they accepted greetings and hugs from advocates after being acquitted in the Rajkumar abduction case.

Nagarajan and Pasuvanna, who hail from Malyudhapuram Thotti village near Thalavadi from where forest brigand Veerappan kidnapped Rajkumar in 2000, were arrested for their alleged role in the abduction. The duo had spent six months in jail after being picked by police in 2011, eleven years after the incident, for “aiding the abduction.”

“We are farmers and we have no connection whatsoever with Veerappan and his associates. But we were falsely implicated in the case. We had to undergo the ordeal for eight years. Finally, we have been set free from the case today,” Nagarajan told DH outside the court. 

He said the last eight years were quite tough for him and his family since they had no money to fight the case.

“We did not even have the money to pay the lawyers. Some large-hearted lawyers who took up the case themselves and ensured our release,” Nagarajan said.

Pasuvanna has a different tale to narrate. “We never even saw Veerappan and we have no idea why we were added as accused in the case. My family had no money even to get me out on bail. Finally, they had to sell our cows to pay the surety money for getting bail,” he said.

The duo’s village is 7 km from Thalavadi and their Tamil has a tinge of Kannada since they live on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border. While acquitting them, the judge had blamed the prosecution for not providing even a shred of evidence to prove that the men were accomplices of Veerappan.

Bhavani P Mohan, the advocate who appeared on behalf of the nine men, welcomed the judgement and said the judge had gone through the details of the case meticulously. “The judge questioned the prosecution on why it did not question Rajkumar, his wife Parvathamma and Nakheeran Gopal during the investigation,” he said.

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