The nine-member southern gang that spied and also transported explosives and arms for the LTTE had obtained Rs 1.1 million as an advance payment, police investigations have revealed.
Government spokesman and Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told yesterday`s cabinet press briefing in Colombo that initial police investigations have found that the gang including a journalist had begun working for the LTTE a few months back.
`Only Lalith Seneviratne has been identified as a journalist. He had first worked for Hiru and thereafter for the Akuna newspaper. Most of the other gang members including Sisira Priyantha are trade unionists. Some of them had undergone training in LTTE camps in the North.`
The gang - who worked in batches also included Shamal, Jagath, Janaka, Hibali, Sujeewa,Sarath and Keerthi.
Yapa, said that that three of the arrested suspects have confessed to planning attacks including claymore mine explosions in Koggala,Kirindiwala and Kaduwela.
`They were caught with explosives and ammunition in places such as Athurugiriya, Kettarama and Kalutara. Among their plans was a failed attempt on the life of a Deputy Minister.`
Yapa, said that the details released to the media were based on what three of the arrested suspects had revealed under interrogation.
`This is not a cooked up story aimed at tarnishing the image of journalists.One of the suspects happens to be a journalist and he will be dealt with according to the law.`
Among the explosives recovered from the arrested suspects were two claymore mines weighing one kilogram each,60 electronic detonators, six kilogram C-4 explosives,four T 56 weapons, two micro pistols and 599 rounds of ammunition, he said.