Tamil Tiger killed in battle linked to Gandhi murder

A renegade Tamil Tiger commander has shot dead a rebel agent that his forces linked to the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, India's prime minister.

Lieutentant-Colonel Neelan Sinnathamby was killed by Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan hours before the commander fled his base in eastern Sri Lankan jungles, said the TamilNet website which reports on rebel affairs.

Muralitharan, also known as Karuna, broke away from the Tamil Tigers last month in a regional dispute, but the northern-based rebels defeated his renegade forces in an assault this week.

Karuna's men captured Colonel Sinnathamby in March, after the breakaway. Mr Gandhi, the son of murdered Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and then leader of India's Congress party, was killed when a female Tamil Tiger blew herself up next to him at a campaign appearance in southern India in May, 1991. Indian officials accused Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran of masterminding the killing.

Karuna's spokesman, Varathan, said the colonel had given the suicide bomber contacts and directions for the Madras near where Mr Gandhi was killed.

TamilNet said Colonel Sinnathamby had been blindfolded, and his hands tied.