Sri Lanka to prosecute LTTE leader wanted in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi

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Colombo, Jan 11: Sri Lanka's new government will prosecute a top LTTE leader who is wanted in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, an official spokesman said on Saturday.

Kumaran Pathmanathan, who is better known as 'KP', was "arrested" by the then Sri Lankan government in August 2009 in a Southeast Asian nation and brought to Colombo where he was welcomed as a "VVIP" by then defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena

Newly-elected Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's top aide and spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said they were also trying to locate KP and investigating reports that he had fled the island. It had been alleged that Gotabhaya and the government of his brother and outgoing president Mahinda Rajapaksa had cut a deal with LTTE leaders to access their wealth abroad in exchange for safety and protection for the guerrillas.

Sri Lanka has resisted international moves to have KP extradited to India to face charges, but with the fall of the Rajapaksa regime, questions have risen about the fate of the LTTE leader.

"The information we have is that he was taken out of the country. He had used the VIP lounge so there is no record of him leaving," Senaratne said adding that Colombo will prosecute him even if he had escaped abroad.

"There are several people from the Rajapaksa regime who have already fled the country, but we want to tell them that we can use the international police and have them brought back to Sri Lanka," he said.

He said several men who led dirty tricks department of state-owned media to keep up a smear campaign against Sirisena and his aides had already fled the island.


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