CBI sceptical in Thai denial on LTTE operative detention

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New Delhi, Sep 12 (UNI) The CBI here has reacted with scepticism to Thailand authorities' denial of media reports that a high level Tamil Tiger operative has been arrested there.

A senior CBI official, on condition of anonynimity, here said despite the denial by Thai officials the fact that Kumaran Padmanathan, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's murder suspect, had been detained in Bangkok cannot be dismissed.

''They are weighing the options of disclosing the information as it is a sensitive matter and involves two countries -- Sri Lanka and India -- where Padmanathan is 'wanted'.'' The Thai authorities even might be talking to Sri Lanka to 'send' Padmanathan there, he said, adding the denial might have been a face-saver to shield themselves from diplomatic 'pressure'.

''They would certainly come out, and that too soon, on the detention after going through all the aspects of the matter.'' Meanwhile, CBI spokesman said the agency had not received any intimation on the matter from the Thailand government even till late evening today.

''No reply has come yet from the Thai government on our request to verify reports that the LTTE operative had been detained there.'' ''We had sent a letter in this regard to them but they have yet to respond to our request,'' he added.

Earlier, in Bangkok, Thai Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Piyira Khempon said the government was not aware of any cadre member of the Sri Lankan insurgent group being detained in Bangkok this week.

Sources in the Sri Lankan Embassy in Bangkok told UNI that they were not aware of any such arrest.

Local media reports there also quoted a Thai national police spokesman denying the report first published on the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry website yesterday and picked by online news portals.

According to the reports, Kumaran Padmanathan, allegedly the chief arms procurer for the Tamil Tigers, had been arrested in Bangkok on September 10 on charges of running an arms purchase and smuggling operation from Thailand on behalf of Sri Lankan rebels.

Thai police spokesman Lt General Narong Yangyern said the last time an LTTE member had last been arrested in Thailand was in 2003 and he was extradited to Sri Lanka last month.

UNI

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