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Thailand denies arrest of KP

Kuala Lumpur, September 12
Thailand today denied reports about the arrest of top LTTE leader Kumaran Padmanathan, who allegedly financed the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

“According to immigration records for the past two years, there is no record of him (Padmanathan) entering the country,” chief of Thai Interpol, Col Apichart Suribynya, told reporters in Bangkok, adding that there had been no arrest of Sri Lankans in the past three to four days.

The deputy chief of Thailand’s Special Branch police, Major-Gen Trithot Ronnaritwichai, also denied that Padmanathan, better known as KP, had been arrested. “I have checked with all divisions concerned. No body has information about arresting any Sri Lankan man,” he said.

Thailand has served as a logistics centre for the Tamil Tigers in the past, especially on its Andaman Sea coast from which arms can be shipped to Sri Lanka. Thai Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Piyira Khempon was also quoted in the media as saying that the government was not aware of the arrest, if any was made.

Thai police spokesman Lt-Gen Narong Yangyern too dismissed reports of KP’s arrest, saying a thorough check showed that the last time Thai police arrested any LTTE member was in 2003 and he was extradited on August 15, 2007, to Sri Lanka, the media reported. Meanwhile, the Indian embassy in Bangkok said it was awaiting response from the Thai government on its request for the confirmation of the reports of the arrest of Padmanabhan on charges of gun-running.

“We have sought confirmation from the Thai side and await their response,” a senior Indian Embassy official in Bangkok, who did not want to be named, told PTI over phone. — PTI

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