India likely to demand LTTE chief's extradition

Pathmanathan wanted in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

Pathmanathan, one of the senior-most surviving leaders of the LTTE, is learnt to have played a pivotal role in providing logistic support to the conspirators involved in the killing of the former prime minister at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in 1991. “He had visited Tamil Nadu many times and supplied arms and ammunition to LTTE cadres,” sources said.

Interpol declared Pathmanathan a proclaimed and wanted offender after India and Sri Lanka issued warrants against him. India wanted Interpol to apprehend the LTTE leader on charges of criminal conspiracy, arms smuggling and violation of Indian territory and explosives laws.

When asked about the Indian interests in Pathmanathan, Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said the Tiger leader was wanted in India.

On the question whether India would seek Pathmanathan’s custody, Pillai said there was no immediate hurry.  “He is in Sri Lankan custody. He is not running away,” Pillai said indicating that it could be done in due course.

He also said the ban on the LTTE would continue even though it was no longer a threat to India. Popularly known as KP, Pathmanathan allegedly played a role in financing and providing arms, explosives and communication equipment to the killers of Rajiv. It is reported that it was KP who provided the RDX-and-C4-based suicide vest worn by suicide bomber Dhanu and the AK-47 pistol and a Czech 9-mm pistol possessed by Sivarasan.

Supplier of arms

Pathmanathan has been one of the main suppliers of arms to  LTTE chief V Prabhakaran, and had recently taken the mantle of leadership after the death of the LTTE supremo in May.

KP was reportedly picked up from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur and brought to Sri Lanka in the first week of this month. KP has been living in Bangkok but frequenting neighbouring destinations like Bangkok and Singapore. 

KP’s arrest and deportation from Malaysia to Sri Lanka is seen as a coup of sorts by the Lankan President. India also had sought his custody from different countries but could not succeed. New Delhi also could not procure the extradition of Italian businessman Ottavio Quotracchi, the prime accused in the Bofors gun pay-off case from Malaysia and New Zealand.

KP has been flitting in and out from various countries, including Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Canada, France, Holland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, South Africa, and New Zealand.

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