Thailand yesterday denied claims that a senior Tamil Tiger rebel leader, who allegedly led the group`s international arms procurement network in its two-decade fight against Sri Lankan forces was arrested in Bangkok, Associated Press reported yesterday. ``According to immigration records for the past two years, there is no record of him entering the country,`` Thai Interpol Chief Col. Apichart Suribunya, told AP, adding that there had been no arrests of Sri Lankans in the past three to four days.
The Sri Lankan Embassy in Bangkok also had no knowledge of the arrest, he said. Apichart also rejected a report that authorities in Colombo had contacted Thai police regarding the suspect`s extradition.
``Reliable sources from Thailand reveal that LTTE`s chief for cross-border terrorist activities, Kumaran Padmanadan, alias `KP` has been arrested in Bangkok on Sept. 10,`` the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry said on its website. ``Padmanadan is one of the most wanted terrorists by the International Police (Interpol) who has been running the global procurement network of the LTTE terrorists,`` it said.
Sri Lanka`s Defense Ministry, citing local defense intelligence sources, said Padmanadan`s division was the rebels` oldest international wing and was concerned with ``procurement.``
In a report in August, the London-based Jane`s Intelligence Review said the Tamil Tigers used a worldwide network of fake charities and a sophisticated smuggling operation to raise up to US$300 million (euro217 million) a year to fund their separatist battle.
The report said the Tigers` fundraising prowess enabled the group to develop ``one of the most sophisticated insurgencies in the world,`` which includes an army, navy and even a primitive air force of a few light aircraft.
Kumaran Padmanathan is a key accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Soon after Padmanathan`s arrest on Monday, the CBI in Delhi approached the Thai government, giving details of the case pending against him, and sought its assistance in handing him over to face trial in India, sources in the agency said.
Meanwhile Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona was quoted on the Hindustan Times newspaper as saying the government was still awaiting official confirmation from Thailand over reports of the Tiger frontman`s arrest.