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LTTE faces another blow, new chief in custody

world Updated: Aug 08, 2009 01:07 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
LTTE chief Shanmugam Kumaran Tharmalingam

Two days after being taken into custody, the arrest of the new LTTE chief Shanmugam Kumaran Tharmalingam, Kumaran Pathmanathan or KP being one his many aliases, remained as much shrouded in mystery as his shadowy life with the Tigers’ had been.

The Sri Lankan government remained tightlipped about the sequence of events leading to the arrest.

Initial reports on Thursday night had said he was arrested in Bangkok; on Friday morning, after Thai authorities denied it, it was claimed that KP was arrested in Kuala Lumpur jointly by Lankan and Malaysian police. He was then flown to Colombo via Bangkok. A purported statement from the LTTE, according to AP news agency, also said he was arrested in a hotel in the Malaysian capital. But Malaysian officials have declined to comment.

Lankan defence spokesperson, Keheliya Rambukwella, too refused to provide details of KP’s arrest, saying only that “he was arrested within the Asian region’’ and was being questioned in Sri Lanka.

There are pending warrants against the 55-year-old, issued from Chennai and Colombo. In India he is wanted for involvement in the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. Sri Lanka said on Friday that if there was any demand for extradition of KP by India, it will be considered in line with the International norms and conventions.