Shankar Bidari: Where is the Ex-Special Task Force Member Now?

By 1993, sandalwood smuggler and elephant poacher Veerappan managed to get together a gang of more than 150 followers. While the gang was armed to the teeth, their constant warfare against authorities led to the loss of police lives and completely demoralized the task force. In such a situation, Officer Shankar Bidari took over as commander of the MM Hills task force and sought to end Veerappan’s reign once and for all. Netflix’s ‘The Hunt for Veerappan’ chronicles Bidari’s contribution to the investigation and even explores the controversies that surrounded his methods. Well, let’s dive into the details and find out where Shankar Mahadev Bidari is at present, shall we?

Who Is Shankar Mahadev Bidari?

A native of Galagali village in Bagalkot, Karnataka, Bidari obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from Karnataka University, Dharawad, in 1975 before joining the police force as a Probationary Assistant Commissioner. However, it did not take long for his seniors to notice his commitment to service, and by 1978, Bidari passed the required examinations and entered the IPS or Indian Police Service as an officer of Karnataka. Readers will be intrigued to know that throughout his career as an IPS, Bidari built up a reputation for tackling severely challenging cases and has been credited for resolving numerous issues, including communal riots, election disturbances, and armed robberies. In fact, he even led an investigation into the Mahalakshmi Train Dacoity cases and was responsible for apprehending a couple of militants who were suspected of being involved in the 1991 murder of Rajiv Gandhi. Hence, considering him to be an expert problem solver, the state put Bidari in charge of the MM Hills task force in 1993.

When Bidari took over the task force, he discovered that most officers were scared of Veerappan and did not want to face him head-on. Moreover, instead of fleeing when pursued, Veerappan chose to retaliate in violent ways, and his attacks often led to the death of several officers. That was when Bidari realized that he had to take a direct and active approach in order to take the jungle brigand down. Hence, he and his team went on an arresting spree, apprehending and imprisoning anyone who was suspected of being Veerappan’s informant or a member of his gang. Moreover, the show also mentioned how Bidari established “The Workshop,” a cell building where prisoners were often tortured to get the truth out of them.

Interestingly, even though Bidari claimed he did what was needed to get the situation under control, several people, including Veerappan’s wife, Muthulakshmi, accused him of being a brutal torturer who allegedly violated several human rights. There are reports which claim Bidari tortured women and they were sexually assaulted under his protection, but readers should note that none of these charges have been proven in court. Nevertheless, Bidari’s direct approach soon paid off as Veerappan’s gang began dwindling until there were just a handful of members left.

Following Retirement, Shankar Mahadev Bidari is Living With His Family

While Bidari received numerous awards, including the President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 1995 and First Bar to the Police Medal for Gallantry in 2011 for his actions against Veerappan, he even earned a promotion to the post of Inspector General of Police in 1998. Since then, Bidari has held different ranks, including the Inspector General of Police, Additional Director General of Police, and the Commissioner of Police for Bangalore City. Eventually, in May 2011, the government gave him the post of  Director General of Police before making him the head of the Karnataka Police in November of the same year. However, in March of 2012, the Karnataka High Court began investigating several claims of human rights violation against Bidari, which led to him getting removed from the post of DG & IGP Karnataka Police. Yet, Bidari soon appealed these charges, and even though the Supreme Court ruled on his behalf, he took retirement from the police services in May 2012.

Following his retirement, Bidari settled in the city of Bangalore, Karnataka, and he still resides there to this day. Moreover, while the father of two is happily married to Umadevi, he has been working as a Legal and Management Consultant since 2013, and we wish him the best for the years ahead.

Read More: Mahalingam, KM Govindan and Anburaj: Where Are Veerappan Gang Members Now?