One of INTERPOL's most wanted terrorists, Kumaran
Pathmanathan (INTERPOL file photo) and KP as
Selvaraj Pathmanathan,' LTTE's 'chief negotiator.'
(A recently published photo)
world knows him as KP, the man who kept the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) well fortified with arms
and ammunition. To achieve his procurement objective, he
indulged in drug trafficking using a widespread network
in several countries.
by many names including Dharmalingam Shanmugam, Kumaran
Padmanadha, Kaludai and Kutti, KP was really the wind
beneath the militant outfit by keeping it well supplied
on April l4, 1955 in
he is one of the most educated LTTE members having
obtained an Arts Degree (not Art of War) from the
University of Jaffna.
of his youth was spent in furthering the LTTE cause.
the annihilation of the LTTE, some look up to KP who is
now believed to be residing in Europe or Malaysia as the
would-be successor of Velupillai Pirapaharan. Whether KP
would have an organisation left to lead, given the
military devastation of its cadres is altogether a
link to providing ammunition used for the Rajiv Gandhi
murder on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur caused the
Indian intelligence service to conduct thorough
investigations into his links, networks, procurement
operations and drug smuggling he was infamous for. To
date, he is a man wanted by India.
intelligence reports on him conclude that, supported by
the vast network, KP had managed to successfully operate
in India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, France,
Switzerland, Belgium, Panama (Honduras and St. Vincent)
and the United Kingdom.
According to Government Defence Spokesperson Minister
Keheliya Rambukwella, the Sri Lankan government has
already requested Interpol to apprehend KP and to hand
him over to the Sri Lankan authorities.
LTTE may be militarily defeated, but the support it
enjoyed as an organisation though reduced has not
completely died out. Especially the Tamil diaspora,
despite Pirapaharan’s death still wishes for the
organisation to continue under a new leadership.
sauve guy carrying several passports unlike his relative
from Velvettithurai, KP is capable of operating from
several countries under cover and is a great survivor.
This makes him attractive to the now demoralised Tamil
diaspora seeking fresh leadership.
for his innate ability to keep the LTTE armoury well
supplied, KP is considered leadership material.
report by the Central Bureau of Investigation Special
Investigation Team (SIT Folder No/XV Part II) MADRAS is
comprehensive. It states, that investigations conducted
so far have disclosed that Kumaran Padmanabha has been
the chief procurer of arms and ammunition,
telecommunication equipment, explosives and electronic
equipment for the LTTE.
also been instrumental in funding purchases of these
materials through gold and drug smuggling. KP’s area of
operation is in the international market, mainly the Far
East i.e.; Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and
Burma; Europe, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Greece and
UK; America- Panama and the Caribbean — St. Vincent.
fact the wing of the LTTE which arranges funds and
supplies has been named as the “KP Department.” In this
case, KP becomes relevant to trace the sources of
procurement of explosives used for the assassination of
Rajiv Gandhi, arms (AK47 and 9 mm pistol) carried by the
accused and the wireless equipment used by them.
Available personal details
born on April 14, 1955 at Maliyaddy near Kankesanthurai,
Jaffna. He was residing at No: 130, KKS Road, Jaffna. He
is said to be related to Velupillai Pirapaharan His
original name is Dharmalingam. He graduated in Arts from
in possession of one Sri Lankan and two Indian
passports. He holds a Sri Lankan Passport No J-803500
and Sri Lankan Identity Card No: 550971231-V. He holds
two Indian Passports - No. E 432432 in the name of
Dharmalingam Shanmugham Kumaran. This passport was
issued from London on 9.8.89. The other Indian passport
used by him is in the name of Selvaraja Pathmanabhan.
Number of this Passport is E-277582.
reported that in 1981, KP robbed the People’s Bank in
Tiruneveli (Jaffna). KP has been active in India since
1983. During 1983 he was arrested for smuggling gold
worth Rs. 40 lakhs from Singapore to Bombay in collusion
with Vakil Kandasamy. He was then operating in the name
of Kutti alias Padmanabha. He was again arrested for
smuggling in 1984.
1983 onwards KP has been operating from Madras in close
association with Raghu alias Gundappa. In 1984 KP along
with Raghu alias Gundappa approached Capt. Piraisoodi
alias Capt. David, a Merchant Navy Captain and floated a
company in Singapore called Arasu Maritime Pvt. Ltd,
for starting the company, i.e. US 25,000, which was the
paid-up capital, was provided by KP. In October 1984 a
ship MC CHOLAN was purchased. This ship originally
belonged to a Chinese company and was registered at
Panama. This ship was operating between Singapore,
Penang, Sri Lanka, Vizag and Nagapattinam carrying
outboard speed boat engines, communication equipment
and, in all probability, armaments.
the period 1986-88 he floated a new shipping company at
Singapore called “Playmouth Shipping Company” in
partnership with Capt. Vijayakumar. This ship also was
used exclusively for the supplies of the LTTE.
1989 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, KP floated a company
‘Vikram Holdings Pvt. Ltd’ in partnership with three
Malaysians of Sri Lankan origin. Capt. Piraisoodi was
also one of the directors of the company. During the
same period, KP opened another company — “Point Pedro
Shopping,” registered at Panama. His company was
operating two ships “Sun Bird” and “Elicia.”
financing was done by KP. Sun Bird flying the flag of
Cyprus was caught in Penang in December 1990 along with
boat engines, communication equipment etc; the case is
pending in Malaysia. Another ship called the “Golden
Bird” is also financed by KP and was reportedly highly
active. Sun Bird and Elicia were extensively used for
transporting arms and explosives from European
countries. Both the ships fly the flag of Honduras.
November 1990, it was learnt that the London office of
the LTTE had organised a shipment of weapons through
However, the shipment could not come due to the Gulf
War. Some other ships, which have been under the control
of KP are “Amazon” and “Nifly.”
close associates of KP in India were Eason Singaraya and
Kumar. Eason was arrested in 1991 January by local
police and is presently lodged at Vellore jail. Vakil
Kandswamy was another close associate of KP who had been
used by KP for smuggling of gold from Singapore and
arranging for LTTE members in going abroad on forged
November 1990, Eason and Kandaswamy had spoken to KP
over the telephone from Adayar STD booth. KP was at that
time reported to be at Kuala Lampur. During the
conversation with Kandaswamy, KP had indicated that the
LTTE was going to launch a major operation in India to
harm the Indian leadership.
Nov-Dec 1990, KP was in Cyprus. He was in touch with
Kumar who was staying at 28th Lodge, Room No 5,
Sarangoon, Singapore along with Kader. Telephone calls
made from this lodge to Cyprus during the period can be
checked to ascertain the Cyprus address of KP. A
consignment of arms was loaded on the ship Golden Bird
off the coast of Cyprus by KP.
then called Kader from Singapore and he joined him in
Cyprus. He was put aboard the Golden Bird by KP. The
Golden Bird reached the Bay of Bengal in February 1991
and the arms cargo was unloaded and sent to Jaffna in
four installments during March 1991. The Golden Bird
belongs to a company called “Henseatic” registered with
Orient Shipping in Germany.
this period the other LTTE ship Elicia was also in the
Bay of Bengal. Kader had since been apprehended by the
Indian Navy along with nine others from the vessel Tong
Nova and is now in the custody of the Q Branch of Tamil
also learnt that in June 1991 KP visited Singapore and
went to the Thai-Cambodia border in the third week of
July, where he negotiated the purchase of arms and
ammunition from KPNLF for the LTTE. He is believed to
have proceeded to Australia /New Zealand.
January 1991, KP contacted Capt. Piraisoodi from Bangkok
(Thailand) and spoke to him about transportation of
May 1991, KP was reported to be in India. On 26-05-1991,
five days after the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, KP
reportedly left for Bangkok from Bombay. His present
whereabouts are not known.
being the sole procurer, transporter and supplier of
arms, explosives and communication equipment for the
LTTE is the prime suspect in the Rajiv Gandhi case who
would have supplied the explosives used for the
assassination, AK 47 and 9 mm pistol used by Sivarasan
and the wireless sets used by Sivarasan, Kanthan, Dixon
and others. So far no evidence has come to suggest any
alternative method of procurement and supply.
the period 1984-5, while KP was in India, there is
evidence of large-scale purchases of highly
sophisticated weapons by him. During the searches made
at the house of Radhakrishnan alias Radha at Chingelput,
some files captured including “KP-deal list” were
seized. These files indicate bulk purchases of gunboats,
recoilless rifles, 106 mm, torpedoes, RPG anti-tank and
anti-personnel mines, Israeli grenades, 7.6 mm NATO
rifles, ammunition, plastic explosives, sub machine
guns, night vision devices and related equipment.
documents also indicate procurement of G3, N 16, M 60
rifles, Czech pistols 9mm and large quantities of motar
and explosive substances. The documents disclose the
price at which these arms are available in British
Pounds Sterling and also contain certain unsigned
requirements apparently sent to the arms dealers for
procurement of these weapons.
above details would necessarily imply management of huge
finances from floating of companies, purchase of ships,
arms etc; however, there is no direct evidence to
indicate sources of finance, except for some isolated
incidents of gold smuggling which by themselves appear
inadequate to finance the above requirements.
this context, information furnished by the Criminal
Investigations Department of the Sri Lanka Police is
relevant. This information relates to the links between
drug trafficking and the Tamil terrorist organisations.
report inter alia, states that during the period 1984-6
a large percentage of Sri Lankans arrested in West
Germany, Italy, France and Spain for drug smuggling were
found to be Sri Lankan Tamils. The average percentage of
the Sri Lankan Tamils out of the total Sri Lankans
arrested during the period are 84%. Almost all the
Tamils arrested were found traveling on forged
interrogations, they admitted that they were indulging
in drug trafficking on behalf of Tamil terrorists in
order to derive funds for purchase of arms.
the period 1989-90, the Sri Lankan Tamil drug
traffickers arrested abroad were largely found to be
operating from India.
1989-90 as many as 13 Sri Lankan Tamils were arrested
for drug smuggling by the Sri Lanka Police Narcotics
Bureau. They were found to be having definite LTTE
links. The Sri Lanka
CID has come to the conclusion that large sums of money
diverted from the sale of heroin by the drug running
syndicates of the LTTE were re-routed to South India
from where the money is disseminated abroad for purchase
(Extract reproduced from The Assassination Of Rajiv
Gandhi, Unanswered Questions And Unasked Queries by Dr.