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Cook helped attack on Lankan Army chief

It could have been the perfect recipe for disaster for former Sri Lankan army chief, General Sarath Fonseka, recently made the chief of defence staff (CDS), reports Sutirtho Patranobis.

world Updated: Aug 24, 2009 21:40 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

It could have been the perfect recipe for disaster for former Sri Lankan army chief, General Sarath Fonseka, recently made the chief of defence staff (CDS).

Trooper Siddiqui with the voluntary armoured corp was cooking for Fonseka since 2002 in Jaffna and was his main chef at his official residence in Colombo where he moved in 2004. But culinary skills was not Siddiqui’s only forte – he was a LTTE cadre given the job of ensuring access for Tiger suicide cadres to enter the army headquarters and target Fonseka.

``Siddiqui was cooking in the army chalet since 2002 when I was the security forces commander in Jaffna. In 2004, my ADC brought him to my official residence in Colombo. In the month of December same year, I became army chief,’’ Fonseka told HT.

Three months before Fonseka took over as army chief Siddiqui met with an accident and was admitted in the military hospital inside the army headquarters where the army chief’s office was also located.

``His (Siddiqui’s) handler and the female suicide cadre came to the hospital four-five times in the guise of being his relatives. They did a complete reconnaissance of the army headquarters and also kept track of my movements. Siddiqui was aware. I also visited him in hospital,’’ Fonseka said.

According to Daily News, on April 25, 2006, it was the cook who made the final phone call to the female suicide cadre awaiting Fonseka’s motorcade opposite the hospital. It was to pass the information that the army commander had left the headquarters to have his lunch at home. Fonseka was badly injured but survived the attack.

``Siddiqui was still in hospital when I returned after being treated in Singapore. I met him again. He was polite, humble,’’ the CDS said.

Siddiqui continued to work at the armoured corp headquarters till three weeks ago when he was arrested. According to Fonseka, Siddiqui’s name was mentioned by another arrested LTTE cadre who was part of the operation. The cadre also revealed that Fonseka had been marked as a target by the LTTE way back in 1991.

``Siddiqui was arrested. Two weeks ago, he hung himself in a police cell. He used his own shirt,’’ Fonseka said.