S.Vijay Kumar and C.Jaishankar

It could have entered Indian waters to find a safe route to the high security zone

MADURAI/ RAMANATHAPURAM: The target of the suspected suicide mission of the Sea Tiger wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was Kankesanthurai port in Jaffna peninsula, according to informed sources.

The sources told The Hindu on Thursday that the suspects, including a Black Tiger operative and a Sea Tiger operative, ventured into Indian waters to find a safe route to the target, which is a high security zone.

The source added that the explosives came from a certain South-East Asian country. "The threat of a flotilla of Sea Tiger boats storming the Kankesanthurai port had been perceived on many occasions. Investigators suspect that instructions on a satellite phone would have come from Mullaithivu or Killinochi."

Timely intervention

It was the timely intervention of the State intelligence that led to the detection of high-power explosives on the boat. Had they not pursued a suspicion with regard to the design of the boat, it would have remained anchored in the port. The decision to blow it up was made by the State intelligence and the `Q' branch. "We did not want to meddle with the boat at the port... Exploding it in mid-sea was the only option left. The decision was taken on safety grounds," a senior official said. Airports across the State have been alerted following a tip-off that a leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Kirubha alias Kirubhakaran, wanted in connection with the IED components seizure cases, is trying to escape to Sri Lanka using passport. He was in charge of procuring raw materials for various kinds of explosive devices and making payments.

Though the police are still to pinpoint the role of another LTTE operative, Kannan, in the arms smuggling racket, the role of Kirubhakaran has been established in the cases of seizure of IED components. The police have recovered some photographs of Kirubhakaran, who hails from Jaffna, which were in the possession of Dhamodharan of Madurai, an accused in the case. Kirubhakaran, who has a Sri Lankan passport, had visited India several times. He interacted with some persons in Madurai, Tuticorin, Ramanathapuram, Tiruchi and Chennai. The middle-aged, hefty man is believed to have sent several consignments to Sri Lanka.

Interrogation of the arrested persons has revealed that Veluchamy of Ammayapuram near Kodai Road in Madurai district helped Kirubhakaran and Kannan to establish an illegal network.

S.S. Krishnamoorthy, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ramanathapuram Range, said police stations along the coast had been put on high alert.

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