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New LTTE chief KP being grilled

By T V Sriram in Colombo
August 07, 2009 12:27 IST
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Selvarasa Pathmanathan, new chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam who was arrested in Thailand, has been brought back to Sri Lanka and the authorities are grilling him at an undisclosed location, a media report has said.

Pathmanathan, better known as 'KP' or Kumaran Pathmanathan, was flown to Colombo on Thursday night following his arrest in Bangkok, the Thai capital, the Island newspaper reported on Friday.

Sri Lankan defence ministry said in a statement that Pathmanathan had been 'taken into custody by Sri Lankan law enforcement authorities'.

Interpol wanted fifty four-year-old Pathmanathan, who took over the LTTE following the killing of its chief Velupillai Prabhakaran and the outfit's military defeat in mid-May, on gun-running charges.

Pathmanathan was earlier the head of the international division of the LTTE till Prabhakaran's death. Last month, the LTTE named Pathmathan as its new chief, saying the outfit will 'modify' the strategies of its 'struggle' but will continue to work for a 'free Tamil Eelam'.

The Sri Lankan government earlier appealed to foreign governments to find and arrest Pathmanathan, who allegedly ran an international weapons smuggling ring. He was the first top LTTE leader to acknowledge Prabhakaran's death in an army operation in Sri Lanka's north and had announced a 'provisional trans-national government of Tamil Eelam' nearly a month after Sri Lanka officially declared victory over the rebels.
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T V Sriram in Colombo
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