India’s most-wanted criminal, the mustachioed murderer who allegedly chopped some of his rivals into pieces before tossing them into rivers, was killed this week in a shootout with special forces. Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, 60, had been on the run since the 1960s. At first, he was suspected of slaughtering elephants for the illegal ivory trade. Over the decades, he was linked to dozens of crimes, including the brutal murders of several police officers and informants. Though state governments spent nearly $38 million hunting him, he eluded them with the help of sympathetic peasants. But in 2000, even those who had seen Veerappan as a dashing Robin Hood figure turned against him after he kidnapped an elderly Bollywood movie star. Many have alleged that Veerappan escaped justice for so long because he had friends in high places. “If they had caught him alive,” said retired police officer Abdul Kareem, “lots of secrets would have tumbled out.”
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