Erode (TN): Eighteen years after the late Kannada matinee idol Dr. Rajkumar was kidnapped by the slain forest brigand Veerappan, the Goipichettipalayam Additional Magistrate Court in Erode district acquitted all the nine accused this morning for lack of evidence.
Additional District Judge Mani, in his judgment, stated that the prosecution did not gather enough evidence against the accused and “not even an iota of evidence was produced to show the accused were accomplices of Veerappan.”
The Judge also said that Dr. Rajkumar’s family did not turn up to depose in front of the Court during the trial.
The abduction took place on July 30, 2000, when Dr. Raj was with his family at a farmhouse in Dodda Gajanur village in Talavadi bordering Tamil Nadu. The actor was held captive for 108 days in the jungle before he was released on Nov. 15.
Following the actor’s release, Police officials at Talavadi registered a case against Veerappan and 11 of his associates.
In addition to both Rajkumar and Veerappan, two members accused of the crime — Sethukuzhi Govindan and Rangaswamy — also passed away during the course of the trial. Of the nine remaining members, five of the accused are in jail. The charges against them range from abetment of an offence, conspiracy, unlawful assembly, criminal trespassing, abduction for ransom, and they have also been booked under Sections of the Arms Act.
The Trial Court in Erode was pulled up by the Madras High Court in 2016 for asking the actor’s widow late Parvathamma to appear before the Court.