Agents from Britain`s internal security agency, MI5, interrogated for four hours Rajasingham Jeyadevan, the Sri Lankan now holding British citizenship after he was held incommunicado by the LTTE for 62 days and later released in the Wanni.
Mr. Jayadevan, a Briton, and another had gone to the Tiger-controlled area to offer tsunami relief and thrash out some personal problems caused by London-based Tigers.
Several persons with LTTE links, including spokesman Anton Balasingham, whose names emerged in the course of the interviews, are likely to be interrogated by security agents, sources believe. The interrogation held two weeks ago in Lon
don was conducted by two agents from the division in the intelligence agency dealing with kidnapping and terrorism, the sources said. Earlier, A. K. Vivekanandan who had accompanied Mr. Jeyadevan to the Wanni and was released after some 40 days, was also interviewed by MI5 agents for several hours.
He is expected to be interviewed again this week. Rajan Sounderajan, a trustee of the Hindu temple in Alperton in North West London which the LTTE is trying to wrest control of because it is a source of revenue and a place from which to influence the Tamil community to the LTTE`s thinking, is also believed to have been interviewed by officers last month.
The LTTE is banned here as a foreign terrorist organisation under Britain`s terrorism law and fund raising and any activity espousing the LTTE cause are offences under the Act. The recent LTTE delegation to nine European countries was not entertained in Britain.
British intelligence is keen to find out whether any persons of Sri Lankan origin, be they merely residing here or are British citizens, were in any way connected with the apprehension and subsequent detention of Mr. Jeyadevan and Mr. Vivekanandan and in moves to take control of various Tamil initiated ventures here -- from temples to schools -- and to use these to raise funds illegally for the LTTE.
British Police have long suspected that funds collected here under various pretexts are filtering to the LTTE through innocuous-sounding conduits. Because of the fears of money-laundering, banks here have tightened up their procedures for Sri Lankans who wanted to open bank accounts.
According to sources known to Mr. Jeyadevan and Mr. Vivekanandan, they had gone to the Wanni to inquire about relief work for tsunami victims and also to bring to the notice of the Wanni leadership the systematic coercion they are being subject to by UK-based Tigers to hand over assets.
According to these sources, it was Mr. Jeyadevan who lobbied successfully with the British Government, particularly its foreign office, to grant Anton Balasingham a British passport so he could move to Britain from Thailand where he was smuggled out from the Wanni.
Mr. Jeyadevan suspects that Mr. Balasingham, who was allowed to move to Britain following an undertaking given to the foreign office that he would help promote peace in Sri Lanka, was involved in the agony he was made to undergo in the Wanni, despite the help he had given in getting Mr. Balasingham here.
MI5 is expected to pass on the information gathered from the interrogations to other relevant authorities dealing with terrorism and other criminal activities and economic crimes. Meanwhile, Scotland Yard is setting up a new unit to track down organised criminal gangs from London`s growing ethnic minority communities.
Detectives have identified almost 200 crime networks including some among the Sri Lankan community. Two years ago the Metropolitan Police opened a special desk to deal with crime in the Tamil community which had seen several murders and economic crimes such as credit card frauds.
That early action had led to a decrease in crime in the Sri Lankan Tamil community. Chief Superintendent Dick Gargani who is organising the 200-strong force told The Guardian newspaper recently. `We`ve taken action against these new kind of criminal networks already, and we`ve had particular successes with Sri Lankan crime for instance.`
But the MI5 operations which are concerned with internal security will continue independent of this new gang-busting unit.