Sri Lanka asks Interpol to treat Pottu Amman as dead

Colombo: Sri Lanka has asked Interpol to remove the name of feared Tamil Tiger intelligence chief Pottu Amman from its most wanted list, though his body has never been found even ten months after the military campaign against LTTE ended.

Pottu Amman is also wanted across the sea in India in connection with the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. He is also wanted for 1996 bloody bombing of the Sri Lankan Central Bank, which left 91 people dead.

"The Sri Lankan government yesterday asked Interpol to delete the name of LTTE's former intelligence chief Pottu Amman from its most wanted list," military intelligence chief Kapila Hendawitarana said.

"The government has reason to believe he (Amman) had been killed during the final stages of the war," the Daily Mirror quoted Hendawitarana as saying.

Though the Sri Lankan Army made DNA identifications of all the top LTTE leaders including the organisation's late supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran, they have been unable to trace the body of Pottu Amman.

But, the paper said that the Sri Lankan authorities appeared to have no option but to go by information divulged by a Tiger cadre that Pottu Amman was killed before the Tigers made their last abortive breakout bid from Pudukudiyirippu forests.

The state-run newspaper Sunday Observer in May last year had said that despite Tiger cadre claims that the 47-year-old LTTE intelligence chief had been killed, the army carried on with the investigations to try to locate his body.

Also among the untraceable are Prabhakaran's daughter, wife and second son. This had led the LTTE remnants express doubts over their death.

"The deaths of Prabhakaran's wife Madivadanee and daughter Dvaraka is also a puzzle to the military as they could not find their bodies among the scores of Tiger cadres killed," the Sunday Observer had said.

During the last days of the war, Pottu Amman had reportedly been given temporary charge of the LTTE operations and had ordered his then police chief Illango to marshall all forces to the frontline.

The Sri Lankan Army made numerous bids to capture Pottu Amman as he was thought to be a prize catch and at times missed him just by a whisker.

In March last year, a hideout of Pottu Amman was overrun by Sri Lankan troops on the fringes of Mullaittivu, but could not find him in the safe house.

The safe house was used by both Pottu Amman and (his deputy) Kapil Amman.

Troops had also found a jeep believed to have been used by Pottu Amman himself during subsequent search operations conducted in the area.