Among six LTTE operatives, including three German passport holders arrested in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia last Wednesday (March 3) for extorting money from Tamils living in Europe, particularly Germany, is Vaheesan alias Vijikanendra (34), who had received weapons training in the Vanni during the Norwegian brokered ceasefire agreement between the then UNP-led United National Front (UNF) government and the LTTE.
The suspect is believed to have undergone political and military training for over a year and also worked closely with one-time LTTE`s overseas administrative head Veeragattu Manivannan alias Castro. At the time of his arrest, Vijikanendra ran LTTE operations in Germany.
Castro committed suicide at Mullivaikkal during the last phase of the ground operations on the Vanni east front. Intelligence sources told The Island that Vijikanendra had been in charge of funds collected in Germany used to procure arms, ammunition and equipment from different sources, including China, the largest single supplier of weapons to the LTTE.
After the death of Castro, Vijikanendra had worked closely with Perinpanayagam Sivaparan, who bore the nom de gurre Nediyavan. Intelligence sources said that Sivaparan had even accompanied an LTTE delegation for talks in Thailand with the Sri Lankan government delegation.
Sources said that Vijikanendra had moved with top LTTE operatives, who conspired against Kumaran Padmanathan alias `KP` at the time of the 2002 ceasefire agreement. Vijikanendra was the senior most LTTE operative arrested in Germany, they said.
Nediyavan was among many political and intelligence wing cadres sent abroad by the LTTE during 2002-2004 period. The sources revealed that Nediyavan operated from Norway and coordinated operations on behalf of the LTTE.
The German authorities had moved against the LTTE gang after receiving a spate of complaints from Sri Lankan and German Tamils. Sources said that the suspect was a Sri Lankan passport holder.
Among the other suspects were Sivanathan alias Master, 58, former LTTE leader in Germany. He had moved there in 1993 and operated there until 2000 before moving to the UK. He had operated there for seven years and returned to Germany in 2007 to work under Vijikanendra.
They identified the other suspects as Rahulan, 23, a Sri Lankan passport holder and three German passport holders, M Sashidaran, 33, Koneshwaran, 39 and Poobalasigham, 42.
Government sources said that Sri Lanka expected the UK and other European countries to crackdown on LTTE fund raising operations. The recent arrests in Germany proved that the LTTE had been busy raising funds, though the European Union proscribed the organisation in the aftermath of the assassination of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.