‘Tamil Tiger British chief was police informant’

January 29th, 2009 - 6:54 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 29 (IANS) The alleged head of the Tamil Tigers in Britain bought bomb-making equipment for terrorists in his native Sri Lanka despite holding regular meetings with Special Branch police officers, a London court has heard.Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar, 52, known as Shanthan, who was arrested in 2007 along with two Tamil electronics experts, has been described by police as the head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) operations in Britain.

He was also said to be close to LTTE ideologue Anton Balasingham, who died three years ago.

At his trial at Kingston Crown Court in southwest London, counsel for the prosecution said Shanthan was in regular touch with the Special Branch, the agency charged with keeping national security in Britain.

“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],” Jonathan Laidlaw told the court.

He said police questioned Shanthan in July 2004 after he was caught at an army surplus store buying military clothing and equipment, including 250 pairs of combat boots, 251 army-type ponchos, 30 machetes, 152 trenching spades and 110 pairs of US military handcuffs.

Although the LTTE was banned in Britain in 2001, police did not arrest him immediately.

However, police raided his home in South London three years later 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 Navy 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.

Shanthan was arrested in 2007, let off and then re-arrested in May last year.

“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,” Laidlaw said.

The trial continues.

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