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Friday, 30 August, 2002, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
Pledge over India bandit kidnap
Pritam Nagappa (R), son of abducted former minister, after meeting Karnataka's chief minister to discuss his father's abduction
Mr Nagappa's family is urging swift action

The Chief Minister of the southern Indian state of Karnataka, SM Krishna, has told the family of former minister H Nagappa - kidnapped by the bandit Veerappan - that all efforts are being made to secure his release.

Mr Krishna, who has visited the family in person, chaired a cabinet meeting earlier on Friday to discuss his government's reaction to a set of demands for Mr Nagappa's release made in a second tape - reportedly sent by Veerappan to the police.

Veerappan had left a first tape at the time of Mr Nagappa's abduction from his farm house at Chamarajnagar on the borders of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in which, officials say, he warned Mr Nagappa would be beheaded if the police launched a rescue operation.

An official told the BBC the second tape listed demands and repeated threats "on familiar lines", but state Information Minister Kagodu Thimappa would not confirm receiving the second tape or what demands Veerappan might have made in it.

How Veerappan managed to send in the second tape remains a mystery although a villager living in his area of operation is thought to have acted as an emissary.

Family worries

Mr Nagappa is a diabetic and his health remains a source of concern for his family, and for the government.

Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna
SM Krishna seeks a negotiated resolution

On Thursday, his son Pritam Nagappa met Mr Krishna urging speedy action to secure the safe release of his father.

Karnataka's Law Minister DB Chandre has said the government's intention is to secure Mr Nagappa's release through negotiations in contrast to the uncompromising stance of neighbouring Tamil Nadu state which has ruled out talks with Veerappan.

Late on Thursday night, Mr Krishna met advocate Venugopal, who represents several imprisoned associates of Veerappan, sparking speculation that Mr Krishna is exploring a mediatory role for him.

"I have offered to mediate," Mr Venugopal said after the meeting.

Repeat performance

In Tamil Nadu, imprisoned politician P Nedumaran too has offered to negotiate with Veerappan to secure Mr Nagappa's release.

File photo of Veerappan at an undisclosed location
Veerappan's demands have not been released

Imprisoned recently for his overt support for Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, Mr Nedumaran successfully negotiated the release of the film star Rajkumar who was kidnapped by Veerappan two years ago.

Police officials associated with the current hostage crisis say Veerappan might opt for Mr Nedumaran as the official emissary.

The Tamil nationalist politician is sympathetic toward Veerappan who is wanted for more than 120 murders, and has argued in the past for granting him an amnesty.

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