Sri Lanka Minister and Defence Spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella disclosed at a news conference here on Tuesday that the government has sought the advice of the Attorney General’s office to take up the subject of possible freeze of nearly 600 bank accounts belonging to Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP), LTTE chief Velupillai’s successor, currently in the custody of the authorities here.
Asked about the estimated value of money in these accounts, the Minister said the government was still in the process of making an assessment. “Getting information about bank account details of individuals and groups from some of the countries is not easy. There are secrecy laws and clauses involved. At the moment, we have no idea of the amount stashed away in these accounts."
The Minister said that information on the accounts is on the basis of questioning and interrogation of KP, who was arrested in the first week of August in a dramatic fashion in a South East Asian country by sleuths of the Sri Lanka government and subsequently flown to the island nation.
The arrest and shifting of KP to Sri Lanka was considered a major setback to the overseas operations of the LTTE and those working for an alternative leadership to Mr. Prabakaran. Since August, the Sri Lankan authorities have subjected KP to sustained questioning and believe to have gained valuable information.
For instance, on October 24, the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry had said the LTTE’s arms procurer and Prabakaran’s successor had revealed during interrogation that Sri Lanka-born U.S. business tycoon Raja Rajaratnam had been a leading contributor of money to the LTTE. Mr. Rajaratnam (52) was among six persons arrested on October 17 on charges of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
The former chief arms procurer of the LTTE was appointed by Velupillai Prabakaran as head of the LTTE’s newly created International relations department in January this year. After Prabakaran’s death in May this year, KP donned the mantle of the LTTE leadership despite opposition from some of the LTTE overseas factions.
KP was a key LTTE functionary during the Prabakaran era and was believed to one of the chief fund raisers as well as arms procurer for the LTTE. It is against this backdrop that the disclosure of 600 odd foreign bank accounts of KP acquires significance.
KP, known as Tharmalingam Shanmugam Kumaran in India, was proclaimed as a wanted offender through INTERPOL and wanted INTERPOL to apprehend KP for interrogation regarding charges like criminal conspiracy, arms smuggling, violation of the Indian terrorist act, breach of Indian Explosives Act and the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.