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LTTE denies taking money from Prez

The LTTE have denied that they had taken money from Mahinda Rajapaksa ahead of the December 2005 Presidential elections, to help him win the polls, reports PK Balachandran.
Hindustan Times | By PK Balachandran, Colombo
UPDATED ON OCT 02, 2007 07:56 PM IST

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have denied that they had taken money from Mahinda Rajapaksa ahead of the December 2005 Presidential elections, to help him become the President of Sri Lanka.

In an interview to the Tamil daily Sudar Oli on Tuesday, the head of the LTTE's Political Wing, SP Tamilselvan, said that the propaganda that his organization had taken a large amount of money from Rajapaksa to manipulate the election in his favour was a "blatant lie".

He charged that it had become a habit among the majority Sinhalas to use the name of the LTTE in their power struggle.

The opposition United National Party (UNP) and dissidents in the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), have been charging that Mahinda Rajapsksa had sent his brother and Advisor Basil Rajapaksa to meet the LTTE ahead of the elections, and that SLRs.200 million (about $ 1.7 million) was handed over to the militants to ensure that they supported Rajapaksa.

It was widely reported that the LTTE's call to the Tamils of the North and East to boycott the election was meant to deny Rajapaksa's rival, Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Tamil votes he was critically banking on.

SLFP reps did meet LTTE

Tamilselvan said that a delegation from the Rajapaksa camp did come to the Wanni and meet low level functionaries of the LTTE's Administrative Service.

"It is said that Mahinda's brother Basil Rajapaksa had also come. But there was nothing more to it than that. Our Administrative Service staff briefed us about the meeting, and with that, the matter came to an end," the LTTE leader said.

"To say that we take political decisions after taking money from others, is to belittle and tarnish the image of our struggle," he asserted.

But there was a possibility that some outside wheeler-dealers could have used the LTTE's name to get money from Mahinda Rajapaksa, he speculated.

"Let the names of these persons come out. We expect the truth about this to come out. We wish to state firmly that the LTTE has nothing to do with any such dealings," Tamilselvan said.

Basil Rajapaksa has denied, both inside and outside parliament, that he had met the LTTE or offered any money to them. Parliamentary has now proposed the formation of a select committee to go into this as well all previous deals with the LTTE down the years.

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