Hunt for Tiger behind church volunteer

By Asif Fuard

The investigation into last week’s arrest of a Catholic lay-brother who had attempted to smuggle military communications equipment allegedly for the LTTE has taken a new twist as sleuths probing the case are on the hunt for the architect of the plan to smuggle the equipment into the country.

The Sunday Times learns that the CID which had taken over the investigation from the State Intelligence Service (SIS) this week has received vital information on interrogating the suspect regarding an LTTE operative who had funded the parish volunteer to purchase the equipment. The LTTE operative who was reported to have been staying on rent at a house in Rudra Mawatha, Wellawatte has now gone into hiding, a senior CID official said.

“The money for the Catholic volunteer to travel abroad and the money to buy the equipment were given by this LTTE operative,” he said. The suspect in custody has been identified as Tony Jerriah, a lay-brother for the ‘Voluntas Dei Institute’ since 1992. Detectives had questioned priests as well as volunteers from Voluntas Dei that has seminaries in Kochchikade, Kandy and Jaffna.

A spokesman for Voluntas Dei denied the charges of having any links with the LTTE and their knowledge of one of their lay-brother’s connection with a senior LTTE operative. Tony who originates from Jaffna is reported to have his family in Canada. It has been revealed to the CID that Tony’s sister is a prominent activist for an LTTE front organization, the World Tamil Movement, which has been banned in Canada for funding terrorism.

Investigations have revealed that Tony who had left for Singapore on September 2 had bought these items from a private dealer who was known to the LTTE operative in question. The SIS which had received intelligence of Tony’s involvement had tipped the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) Customs officials to search him to see whether he was bringing any military equipment into the country.
Tony who had arrived at the BIA on September 5 from a Cathay Pacific flight had then been stopped and searched by the BIA Customs.

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