Selva Mary was an accused in the Palar bomb blast in 1993 that killed 22 people.

How an attempt at driving away elephants led cops to nab Veerappans aide
news Monday, February 03, 2020 - 14:25

For the last 26 years, a wanted associate of forest brigand Veerappan, and an accused in the Palar bomb blast in 1993 that killed 22 people, was hiding right under the nose of the Karnataka police.

On Saturday, the Kollegal Police arrested 41-year-old Selva Mary after an alert sent out by the forest department to the local police regarding her whereabouts.

In 1993, soon after the Palar bomb blast, Selva Mary, the wife of Veerappan’s close aide Velayan, absconded after his involvement in the blast came to light. The Kollegal Police, who arrested her, says that she has been hiding in Karnataka and working as a contract farmer ever since.

Four days ago, Selva Mary had fired shots in the air in the Chamarajanagar district’s Matahalli village to ward off elephants that were about to enter the sugarcane farm she worked in. The shots resulted in a minor fire at the farm located in the periphery of the forest area where Selva and her second husband Meluswamy worked as contract farmers. When a team led by, Kollegal Deputy Superintendent of Police Naveen Kumar, went to investigate the matter, they found the elusive Selva Mary and arrested her. She was produced before the court on Saturday and has been remanded to judicial custody.

“When we questioned her and asked her where she got the weapon from and how she learned to shoot, she told us about her connection to Veerappan,” the Kollegal Police said.

The Veerappan connection

Kollegal Police investigating the case say that when Selva Mary was 13-years old, Veerappan had taken her hostage from her brother-in-law Sesharaj. Sesharaj had allegedly stolen money from Veerappan. Veerappan allegedly abducted Selva and struck a deal with Sesharaj that she would be returned if he gave the stolen money back.

“When she was in the forest with Veerappan, one of his associates Velayan wanted to get married to her. She was married to Velayan when she was a minor and she was trained along with Veerappan’s men. She said that Veerappan did not trust any women in his gang but had included her in his plans,” the Kollegal Police said.

Police say that Velayan died after the 1993 Palar bombing due to ill health after which Selva Mary came to Karnataka’s Chamarajanagar district’s Matahalli, her hometown, and married Meluswamy. The couple has been working as contract farmers ever since.

Apart from the Palar bomb blast case, she is also accused in the attack on Rampura Police station in 1992. The attack was a part of Veerappan’s gang targeting police stations in a bid to steal weapons. Selva mary is also accused of transportating of weapons illegally. In 1993, the Male Mahadeshwara Hill Police booked her under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) (TADA) Act.

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