May 24, Colombo: Dutch authorities investigating the financial network of the Tamil Tiger leaders in the Netherlands plan to interrogate former and current LTTE leaders in Sri Lanka and are in the process of seeking permission from the Sri Lankan authorities, a Dutch media report said.
A Radio Netherlands report said Dutch authorities are currently negotiating with Sri Lankan Attorney General Mohan Peiris to get permission to interrogate 13 witnesses in Sri Lanka including former and current LTTE leaders next month.
Reportedly the investigators also plan to interrogate Kumaran Pathmanathan, alias KP LTTE arms procurer currently detained by the Sri Lankan government.
According to the report the Dutch magistrates and lawyers are also to travel to the United States to interrogate several US-based witnesses.
In the US, the Dutch investigators plans to interrogate an LTTE leader named Pratheepan Thavaraja, who has struck a plea bargain agreement with the US authorities an admitted that he has purchased weapons for the Tamil Tiger rebels.
According to a FBI report Pratheepan Thavaraja was a senior procurement agent for the LTTE who was involved in the purchase of improvised explosive devices, missiles, machine guns, artillery, radar, and other equipment and technology from countries around the world, including the US.
Pratheepan’s laptop computer has contained a list of “priority items’ worth $ 20 million to purchase for the LTTE.
The List, according to the FBI, included, among other things, six “25mm Anti-Aircraft Gun[s]” at $160,000 each, six “30 mm Twin Barrel Mounted Naval Gun[s] Type 69 (with base)” at $30,000 each, thousands of automatic rifles, millions of rounds of ammunition, grenade launchers, 50 tons of C4 explosive, five tons of “Phlegmatized RDX” explosive, 50 tons of “TNT – based on Chinese specification,” and 50 tons of Tritonal explosive.
The Dutch investigators say Pratheepan’s computer revealed that Ramachandran from the Netherlands had cooperated with Pratheepan in the weapon purchases.
On Wednesday a Dutch investigative team, along with lawyers of the suspects in the Netherlands, will travel to Oslo to interrogate Nediyavan, the Oslo-based LTTE leader who was arrested by the Norwegian authorities. The Dutch investigators believe he has contributed millions to the LTTE.
The Dutch authorities have launched a complex and elaborate investigation called ‘Operation Koninck’ to uncover the prominent role Tamil Tiger leaders in the Netherlands played in financing the civil war in Sri Lanka.
According to the Radio Netherlands report, some 90 witnesses have been heard, dozens of house searches have been conducted, and numerous documents, photos, computers, CDs and DVDs have been obtained.
The Dutch police say that the 10,000 Tamils living in the Netherlands were under the iron grip of the terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which was completely defeated in Sri Lanka in May 2009.
However, the Sri Lankan authorities say the group is active overseas and some elements in the Tamil diaspora are trying to revive the terrorist organization.
The report says the Dutch police are finding it difficult to question the Tamils in the Netherlands as the witnesses continue to be scared to give testimonies or they recant their previous testimonies.