Next move on bandit to be decided jointly

CHENNAI, NOV. 15. The next course of action on the question of nabbing bandit Veerappan, will be decided jointly by the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Governments, the Law Minister, Mr. Aladi Aruna, said today.

Participating in a recording of BBC `Question Time India', here, he said the two emissaries, Mr. Nakkeeran Gopal and Mr. Nedumaran should be thanked for their efforts. In the programme to be telecast on Friday night, he said it was a great achievement that there was no casualty in the entire episode. Asked if he was proud of the manner in which the issue was handled, he replied in the affirmative.

At the Tamil Nadu end, the issue of action against Veerappan was ``being dealt with by the Home Department,'' he said and added that there was no laxity on the part of the Tamil Nadu Government. There was also no hesitation in taking action.

Fending off suggestions of Mrs. Jayanthi Natarajan, MP, and from Dr. Maithreyen of the AIADMK that the Government's credibility had taken a beating on the issue, he said it was because of the sound strategy of the State Government that the release became possible. The atrocities of the bandit had come down during the DMK regime, he said even as Mrs. Jayanthi Natarajan contested the claim. The TMC leader detailed Mr. Nedumaran's secessionist outpourings, and said the Government owed the public an explanation as to why he was chosen as emissary. Mr. Aruna said this was not the time for character assassination.