Kumaran Padmanadan alias KP, the alleged financier and a key accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has been arrested in Thailand.
Soon after Padmanathan's arrest on Monday, the CBI approached the Thailand government, giving details of the case pending against him, and sought its assistance in handing him over to face trial in India, agency sources said.
Sources said details were still trickling in and initial information suggested he was nabbed after three LTTE militants were detained last month in Thailand's Ranong province, while trying to buy guns and 45,000 rounds of ammunition.
The three militants and Padmanathan were suspected to be involved in a LTTE gun-running network based in Thailand, they said. Padmanathan has been declared one of the most-wanted terrorists by Interpol as he is suspected to be a key person in LTTE's global network for procuring weapons and other
Jane's Defence Intelligence Review, the premier London-based defence magazine, recently reported that the LTTE had two international wings -- KP Department and Aiyanna Group -- that are engaged in global terrorist activities.
The CBI had been on KP's trail for over a decade. As part of its quest for the terrorist leader, a CBI team travelled to New Zealand in 2002 and questioned three Tamil nationals after securing permission from authorities in that country, sources said.
The agency also sent letters rogatory to Sweden where Padmanathan, a close aide of LTTE chief V Prabhakaran, was believed to be hiding.
Swedish authorities, however, told the CBI that he had fled the country and his whereabouts were not known. Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 by a LTTE suicide bomber at an election rally in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. In January 1998, 26 people were convicted for killing him.
A multi-disciplinary monitoring agency, headed by the CBI, was set up to further probe the leads provided by the Jain Commission, which investigated the conspiracy behind the assassination.
The CBI approached nearly 23 countries with letters rogatory for Padmanathan along with its findings against the terrorist leader.