October 29, 2020
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"Where's the documentary proof?"

Amid the celebrations following film icon Rajkumar's release, disturbing questions have been raised on the role of his third son, Puneeth, and his involvement in illegal quarrying. Many feel the whole abduction episode had to do with a falling

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"Where's the documentary proof?"

There has been considerable talk of your involvement in illegal quarrying and your owing money to Veerappan...
That’s not true. I had a granite quarry in Kanakpura, 65 km from Bangalore and nowhere near Kollegal and Chamrajanagar where Veerappan operates. psr Company was a small-time firm where I had invested nearly Rs 3 lakh.

But many people in the granite business say you indulged in illegal quarrying elsewhere and were also raided.
Where is the documentary proof? I do not want to go public and scotch such baseless rumours. I applied for a lease from the department of mines and geology which was issued to me after the formalities.

What happened then?
I had entered the business in 1995 and bowed out in mid-1998 when I found out it was not profitable. So I sold the one-and-a-half acres of quarrying area to Rustamji Granites.

At what price?
Forget the sum, it’s not important.

Why did it take you so long to realise it was unprofitable?
I was never really a hands-on person or fully exposed to the trade. Right through, I did only two, maybe three, consignments to Taiwan.

Some local dailies say you owed Rs 10 crore or more to the granite mafia...
I’ve never dealt with such sums at all.

You agree that illegal quarrying takes place in some of the reserved forest areas in that region.
Yes, I believe it does. Some people have told me about it but I have no first-hand knowledge.

Do you have any links with Dr Bhanu, who went in to rescue your father and who incidentally is in the granite business?
Neither have I dealt with her nor have I met her earlier.

Do you have any idea of the ransom paid for Rajkumar’s release?
I’m unaware of these details and I have no knowledge of the versions being put out.

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