B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: The rebel LTTE leader, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias ‘Colonel’ Karuna, returned here after completing his jail term in Britain on charges of violation of immigration laws. He fled to London in November 2007 using an alleged forged diplomatic passport.

Karuna left Sri Lanka after a split in the political party he founded, the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP). Later, his deputy, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, took control of the party.

According to diplomatic sources, Karuna had applied for political asylum in the U.K. on the plea that his life was under threat from the LTTE. However, after being sent to prison, he withdrew the plea and moved an application for “voluntary repatriation.”

Human rights groups had urged the U.K. to try Karuna for his alleged rights violations as an LTTE commander in the east, and subsequently as TMVP’s leader. However, the British government chose not to proceed against him as there was no sufficient evidence.