Veerappan : India's Most Wanted Man by Sunaad Raghuram

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9780066210636 Veerappan: poacher, smuggler, killer -- a fugitive who for more than three decades has sustained a crime frenzy as action packed and outlandish as anything Hollywood (or evenBollywood) could conjure. Determined to escape the crushing poverty of his childhood village, Veerappan was lured to a life of crime in his adolescence and eventually amassed a gang with as many as 150 members. He has kidnapped wealthy men, poached precious resources, and viciously ambushed police, killing more than a hundred. He stole such great quantities of explosives from nearby granite operations that the government ordered the industry to shut down. Yet to this day he has eluded capture, despite the government's creation of a special task force, the sole purpose of which is to stop him. The impenetrable Indian jungle provides him with shelter and refuge, while villagers, whether from fear or admiration, protect him from the police, so that year after year he has grown bolder and more power hungry. His most audacious act to date -- the kidnapping of India's biggest film star -- caused nationwide public upheaval and brought the film industry to a halt, while his demands for ransom presented the government with a crippling legal dilemma. Investigative journalist Sunaad Raghuram's meticulously researched report follows Veerappan's violent progression from a small-time poacher to the bloodthirsty criminal who has flouted the entire Indian police force and government for decades. Using the personal testimony of Veerappan's family members and closest associates, Raghuram recounts this outlaw's crimes and examines his personal life as well, including a surprisingly touching first person account of what Veerappan's wife has endured. Veerappan: India's Most Wanted Man details the methods and madness of a man alternately hailed as a messiah and condemned as a murderer.