By D.B.S. Jeyaraj
Selvarasah Pathmanathan alias “KP” A.K.A Kumaran
Pathmanathan was seized in Malaysia on Wednesday, August
5 and brought to
on Thursday, August 6.
his capacity as General-Secretary of the re-structured
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was the virtual
global Tiger chief.
According to informed sources KP was staying in Kuala
Lumpur (KL) , Malaysia when taken into custody.
Pathmanathan had met with two visitors from London,
England at a hotel room in KL in the afternoon of August
5. He had received a call on his cellular phone. KP had
then signaled to his visitors that he was going out to
the corridor and walked away while conversing on the
not returned for a long time and when the worried
visitors from Britain went out in search there was no
sign of the new global Tiger chief.
Meanwhile the friend who had been talking to KP on the
phone had heard a sudden thud and some noise while
chatting. The phone went dead and repeated calls were
friend then alerted some assistants of KP in Malaysia
who went in search of KP to the place where he was
staying in KL. The place was empty but KP’s insulin and
syringes and other medical stuff were still there.
also got alarmed and contacted circles close to KP.
Meanwhile KP seized in
was taken to Bangkok in Thailand. Sri Lankan authorities
were contacted and a team from the Police Terrorist
Investigation Department flew to Bangkok in the early
hours of Thursday, August 6. The team returned with
Pathmanathan alias KP on a special flight the same day.
handcuffed and had a mask covering his head and face
when disembarking from the plane at
whisked away in a vehicle with tinted glasses to a
high-security, secret location run by the Terrorism
Investigation Department personnel. KP is to be
interrogated intensively by Sri Lankan anti-terrorist
widely believed that the arrest was made possible
through “inside information” supplied by some members of
the LTTE abroad who were opposed to KP donning the Tiger
leadership mantle after the demise of supremo Velupillai
at one time the chief arms procurer for the LTTE and
headed a Tiger division known as Overseas Purchases
Dept. or simply KP Dept.
went into voluntary retirement in 2003 and married a
January this year, KP was appointed the LTTE’s
international relations chief. As the senior-most LTTE
member alive, KP assumed leadership of the Tigers after
was vehemently opposed by a section of the diaspora
Tigers led by Perinbanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan
protracted talks an agreement was arrived at. KP assumed
control of the LTTE as “Thalaimai Seyalar” or Chief
cabal of influential LTTE and pro-LTTE members abroad
continued to oppose KP’s leadership and were engaged in
conspiratorial moves to sabotage the accord. The LTTE
hardliners were disappointed with KP’s public
acknowledgement that Prabhakaran was dead and also his
announcement that the armed struggle had ended.
“arrest” was a consequence of the internal opposition to
KP it is suspected.
known as Tharmalingam Shanmugam Kumaran in India was
proclaimed as a wanted offender by that country through
wanted INTERPOL to apprehend KP for interrogation
regarding charges like criminal conspiracy, arms
smuggling, violation of Indian terrorist act, breach of
Indian explosives act and the assassination of Rajiv
Pathmanathan, a native of Myliddy in
was born on April 6, 1955. He is a past student of
Nadeswara College, Kankesanthurai and Mahajana College,
Pathmanathan was also an undergraduate at the Jaffna
University but did not complete his degree.
Pathmanathan, better known as KP during his decades
running the LTTE’s arms and smuggling networks, took
over as the public leader of the separatist group after
Sri Lanka’s military announced victory on May 18 after a
First to acknowledge
the first LTTE official to acknowledge the death of
Tiger founder and leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, who was
killed in the closing days of Sri Lanka’s offensive on a
narrow spit of northeastern coast where they had
surrounded the rebels.
Security experts had long suspected Pathmanathan was
hiding in Southeast Asia.
Western diplomat assigned to Sri Lanka met him somewhere
in the region earlier this year, part of an effort to
persuade the LTTE to surrender in the face of an
imminent defeat and free civilians they were holding by
force in the war zone.
Pathmanathan was believed to have earned millions of
dollars procuring weapons for the Tigers and running
smuggling operations from bases across the region
including Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. Security
experts say he had multiple passports.
estimates said the LTTE earned between $200-300 million
from extortion, weapons sales and drug smuggling.
Analysts said part of a brief struggle for Prabhakaran’s
mantle after the war was to take control of its
the war, Pathmanathan said the LTTE would try
non-violent means to achieve its goal of a separate
state for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils. Among his first
initiatives was to try to form a transnational
Jeyaraj can be reached at email@example.com)