|Tamil Tigers boss was Special Branch informant, court hears|
|Thursday, 29 January 2009|
The head of the Tamil Tigers in Britain bought bomb-making equipment for the terrorist group in Sri Lanka despite holding regular meetings with Special Branch, a court has heard.
By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent
Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, 52, known as "Shanthan," was allegedly aided by two Tamil electronics experts living in Newport, South Wales, who helped decide what components to acquire.
He was also close to Anton Balasingham, the Tigers' chief political negotiator, who moved to London in 1999 and died three years ago.
Jonathan Laidlaw QC prosecuting, said the men were among 300,000 Tamils living in Britain and added: "As you might expect because of this country's close links with Sri Lanka and the large Tamil community which lives in the UK, the authorities through its agencies such as Special Branch, held regular meetings with [Shanthan]."
The Tamil Tigers were proscribed as a terrorist organisation in 2001 and police questioned Shanthan in July 2004 when he was caught buying military clothing and equipment at an army surplus store in Southsea, Hamsphire but did not arrest him.
The list included 250 pairs of combat boots, 251 army-type ponchos, 30 machetes, 152 trenching spades and 110 pairs of US military handcuffs, the court heard.
Special Branch continued to meet Shanthan but three years later officers raided his home in Norbury, South London and discovered equipment which could be used in improvised explosive devices along with high powered magnets of the type used to attach limpet mines to Sri Lankan Naval vessels.
Two lists included equipment which could be used to track boats and plans to manufacture 7,500 printed circuit boards in Taiwan with a timing and switching function that could have been used for a "nefarious purpose", the court was told.
Mr. Laidlaw told Kingston Crown Court in South West London that the Hindu Tamil Tigers, or Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were involved in a "bitter and bloody struggle" in Sri Lanka, with the Buddhist Sinhalese, that stretched back 30 years.
The court heard that in the last few days the Tigers' stronghold at Kilinochchi, northern Sri Lanka, has fallen and the government has declared victory.
Mr Laidlaw said: "Shanthan as head of the LTTE in London was the co-ordinator of the procurement exercise. He was in contact with senior LTTE figures in Sri Lanka, receiving their orders and requests and, on occasions, buying equipment himself."
His co-accused, Jegatheswaran Muraleetharan, 46, known as Muralee, and his brother, Jeyatheswaran Vythyatharan, 40, known as Vithy, who had well-paid jobs in South Wales, were "both highly skilled electrical engineers and it was they with their expertise who carried out both the research and development," the court was told.
Murugesu Jegatheeswaran, 34, known as Jegan, from Mitcham, south London, allegedly lent his name to the operation and received goods at his job at a printer's firm.
All four men deny conspiracy to receive electrical components for the purposes of terrorism and Shanthan denies further counts of being a member of a proscribed organisation and receiving military equipment, military manuals and money for terrorism.
The trial continues.Courtesy: telegraph.co.uk
|Last Updated ( Friday, 14 August 2009 )|
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