‘Super cop’ Vijay Kumar’s book on Veerappan, now a podcast

Speaking to DT Next at the launch of the podcast of his book, ‘Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand’, Vijay Kumar said, “I never imagined a conversation with him in my mind.
Vijay Kumar
Vijay Kumar

CHENNAI: For IPS officer K Vijay Kumar and his special task force, capturing dreaded forest brigand Veerappan was the only thing on their mind. After several failed attempts, they tasted success on October 18, 2004, through Operation Cocoon. Did the spearhead of the operation speak to Veerappan?

Speaking to DT Next at the launch of the podcast of his book, ‘Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand’, Vijay Kumar said, “I never imagined a conversation with him in my mind. I wouldn’t have asked why he did what he did, because he believed in something else and lived the life he thought was right. However, I must say that I really admire his tactical skills and also that he was a very fit man.”

He continued, “But now that you have asked me, I want to go back and think what I should have said or asked.”

The success of the operation to capture him was one for the team rather than a personal achievement, he said. “I felt I was a medium to get it done and therefore, there was a feeling of enormous satisfaction. I would say this was possible because of how dedicated the team was,” he added.

“I remember every minute of that night. From the moment I left Sathyamangalam and sat in my jeep along with the other officers to the meal we had, which was two apples and a slice of bread. Seconds and microseconds of that night are still with me. We had a sense of responsibility because we had something to show,” the widely respected officer recalled during his conversation with Tuhin Menon, founder and CEO of Asiaville who narrates the 20-episode podcast on Audible.

Recalling an incident during the operation in the 90s, he said after receiving a tipoff that Veerappan and gang would cross the Moyar valley, a few officials offered to stake out at the location.

Among them were Suresh and Ananjay Kumar. At night, Ananjay went out to relieve. When he returned, Suresh was woken up by some noise and saw a silhouette by the door. He grabbed his AK-47 and asked who it was.

“Ananjay, who had the habit of chewing betel leaf, didn’t reply. In a panic, Suresh shot Ananjay. In his last moments, he asked Suresh to look after his sister,” he said. Suresh was so disturbed by this that he tried to kill himself twice before eventually leaving the task force and retiring.

The podcast is available to Audible members.

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