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Top LTTE arms procurer nabbed

Kumaran Padmanathan, the LTTE leader who allegedly financed Rajiv Gandhi's assassination has been arrested by Interpol in Thailand for gun-running.

world Updated: Sep 12, 2007 10:16 IST

Sixteen years after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed, Kumaran Padmanathan, the LTTE leader who allegedly financed his assassination has been arrested by Interpol in Thailand for gun-running.

If extradited to India, the 52-year-old Padmanathan, also known as KP and Shanmugam Kumaran Tharmalingham, could prove to be a prized catch, with CBI sources claiming he would be able to unravel the conspiracy behind the assassination of Gandhi on May 21, 1991.

Acting swiftly on the report of his arrest in Bangkok yesterday, the CBI sent papers to Thai authorities, seeking confirmation about the development and asking for his extradition to India to face trial. This came a day after the Sri Lankan government approached authorities in Bangkok with a similar request.

The CBI is hopeful of securing Padmanathan's extradition as it had earlier approached 23 countries, including Thailand, for sharing information about the terrorist leader, the sources said.

Padmanathan, seen as a key LTTE leader in charge of operations to procure weapons for the group, was believed to be staying in Thailand and Cambodia and allegedly running an global gun-running network.

The CBI had been on the trail of the man with a number of aliases in places like Johannesburg, Yangon, Singapore and Bangkok. KP is believed to have bank accounts in Britain, Germany, Denmark, Greece and Australia as well as dozens of fake travel documents, the sources said.