LTTE planned to abduct Sri Lankan Tamil politician in India
By M.R. Narayan Swamy
New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) The arrest of a Tamil Tiger operative on charges of planning the abduction from India of a prominent Sri Lankan Tamil politician is the first time the rebels have gone this far since the 1991 killing of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
According to home ministry sources, the Intelligence Bureau played a key role in the arrest Thursday night of Thambiturai Parameswaran alias Surli alias Nathan from Madipakkam, a thickly populated Chennai suburb near an IT corridor that is home to many Sri Lankan Tamils.
Nathan, who entered India illegally by sea in February 2007, has been described as a member of the intelligence wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). He had been tasked with the responsibility of planning the kidnapping of Annamalai Varadaraja Perumal, the former chief minister of Sri Lanka's northeastern province who has lived in and around the Indian capital for years under Indian protection.
A native of Jaffna, Nathan had bought a van in Chennai that he plied as a taxi to give himself a respectable cover. He had over a period of time moved close to two relatives in the area of Perumal, as he is widely known, and also Douglas Devananda, Sri Lanka's rabidly anti-LTTE Tamil cabinet minister.
Devananda, who has escaped several assassination attempts blamed on the LTTE, is a frequent visitor to India.
Following Nathan's arrest, the Tamil Nadu Police took into custody seven other Sri Lankan Tamil men who were identified only as Reagan, Anand, Kesavan, Paris, Akilan, Sudarsanan and Aravindan.
All seven apparently acted as Nathan's sub-agents, collecting information that was passed on to the LTTE in Sri Lanka.
According to home ministry sources, the likely kidnapping of Perumal could have taken place when his eldest daughter was to get married next month in Rajasthan, where he had lived under protection in Ajmer city before moving closer to the Indian capital.
Nathan had reportedly offered his taxi to the relative of Perumal he had befriended so as to drive him to Rajasthan - and thus get close to the intended victim.