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 Post subject: Feds probe Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO - USA)
 Post Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 3:39 am 
Feds probe Tamils Rehabilitation Organization

Dr. Nagaratnam A. Ranjithan, a kidney disease specialist who has practiced in the Western Maryland city for 30 years, said today that FBI agents returned to him late Tuesday five computers they had removed from his medical office on Monday. He said the agents also made photocopies of documents they found in his home pertaining to his group, the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization.

By David Dishneau
The Associated Press
August 23, 2006, 4:18 PM EDT


HAGERSTOWN // The FBI has seized documents and computer files from a Cumberland physician whose Sri Lankan relief organization is suspected of raising funds for the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group known for suicide bombings that is on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Dr. Nagaratnam A. Ranjithan, a kidney disease specialist who has practiced in the Western Maryland city for 30 years, said today that FBI agents returned to him late Tuesday five computers they had removed from his medical office on Monday. He said the agents also made photocopies of documents they found in his home pertaining to his group, the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization.

Ranjithan is president of the organization's U.S. branch, which he said he founded in 1994.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York, which is investigating suspected links between the Tigers and the TRO, declined to comment on the government's dealings with Ranjithan.

In a telephone interview with the Associated Press today, Ranjithan denied that the TRO funnels money to the Tigers, known formally as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE. But he said the Tigers sometimes direct TRO relief workers to civil-war refugees and tsunami victims in northeastern areas of Sri Lanka controlled by the insurgents.

"They say, 'You go to this road and turn left and there are 16 families there,'" Ranjithan, a 60-year-old Sri Lankan immigrant, said. "If the TRO doesn't take care of those people, then who else will?"

The Justice Department described the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization in a complaint Monday as "a suspected LTTE front fundraising organization." The reference was in a document alleging that a group of men representing the Tigers had offered undercover agents millions of dollars to change U.S. policies and obtain classified intelligence. The classified information included a phony document referring to an investigation of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization.

Nardoza said 11 men have been arrested on charges stemming from that complaint and another, which also allege Tamil Tiger emissaries tried to buy 18 surface-to-air missiles and other weapons.

The Tamil Tigers have been battling for more than 20 years to carve out a separate state for the ethnic Tamils, who suffered decades of discrimination by the Sinhalese-dominated government.

According to the TRO's Web site, the relief group was formed in 1985 mainly as a self-help organization for Tamils who had taken refuge in southern India.


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