Mahalingam, KM Govindan and Anburaj: Veerappan Gang Members’ Life Now

At the height of his power, Veerappan had a gang of more than 150 members who were armed to the teeth. He and his gang caused problems for the police on a daily basis, even though the local villagers viewed them as their saviors. The eye-opening Netflix series ‘The Hunt for Veerappan’ chronicles the rise and fall of the notorious jungle brigand through one-on-one interviews with several individuals related to the sandalwood smuggler and elephant poacher. Likewise, viewers were introduced to Mahalingam, KM Govindan, and Anburaj, three members of Veerappan’s crew, who were able to escape persecution from the law.

Who Are Mahalingam, KM Govindan and Anburaj?

A resident of the village of Gopinathan, Mahalingam, explained how Veerappan gathered support and became a gang leader by bringing in a lot of revenue from his smuggling activities. He also mentioned that they functioned locally at first but soon spread their operations over the entire MM forest, effectively rooting out the opposition from Forest Department officials. Interestingly, neither Mahalingam nor other members of Veerappan’s gang cared much about the dead elephants since they believed they had a right over the natural resources. On top of it, they were also ready to follow their leader and did not hesitate to murder rival gangs who dared stand against them.

KM Govindan

KM Govindan joined Veerappan’s gang during his sandalwood smuggling days and became intricately involved in the day-to-day activities. While on the show, the former gang member mentioned that the gang knew every inch of the forest, like the back of their hands, and Veerappan could instantly recall the locations which had the most sandalwood trees. In fact, there were days when Govindan would cut down trees from dawn to dusk until vehicles arrived to take the sandalwood away. Moreover, readers would be interested to know that every truck driver was advised to never stop for forest officials and run over them if needed. However, despite his strict control over the smuggling ring, Veerappan often took good care of his gang members and the local villagers.

Anburaj claimed he was the youngest member of Veerappan’s gang and was very close to the infamous forest brigand. Surprisingly, despite the social norms of that time, Veerappan did not care much about caste discrimination, as his gang had people from all casts, religions, and walks of life. In fact, Anburaj mentioned that Veerappan had almost created a small village in the middle of the forest, and since the locals viewed him as a king, he would often preside over and pass judgment on cases and disputes which were held up in legal court. As a matter of fact, to this day, Anburaj believes that the public being ready to name a wanted criminal as their hero showed the inability of the police force to contain the situation amicably.

Where Are Mahalingam, KM Govindan and Anburaj Now?

Like several other former members of Veerappan’s gang, Mahalingam, KM Govindan and Anburaj surrendered to the police on the orders of their leader. Although sources claim Veerappan asked them to surrender, believing the state would provide them amnesty, all three were tried in court and sentenced to prison in the late 1990s.


Unfortunately, not much is known about Mahalingam and KM Govindan’s current whereabouts, as they chose to embrace a life of privacy after getting released from prison. However, from the looks of it, they continue living quiet lives in South India. On the other hand, Anburaj was only 20 when he was sentenced to life in prison, and although the former gang member believed he would die behind bars, he soon took to theatre and began performing with other inmates. Interestingly, Anburaj even petitioned the prison authorities to include women prisoners in the performances, and this was how he came across Revathi for the first time. Revathi, who was also serving a life sentence for murder, fell in love with Anburaj, and the two kept their relationship alive by exchanging handwritten letters.

In 2011, Anburaj and Revathi tied the knot while on temporary parole, and even though the latter welcomed their first child while behind bars in 2015, Revathi was released from prison in the same year. Incidentally, Anburaj also earned his freedom the following year, and the couple, along with their two children, currently resides in the village of Kazhuthapali in Tamil Nadu. Furthermore, Anburaj currently earns a living by running a small store that sells groceries, organic products, and handicrafts, while Revathi is planning on starting a theatre group at a local women’s prison.

Read More: Veerappan: How Did the Criminal Bandit Die?