Sri Lanka has been raised in a controversy brewing up in Thailand after a Thai Parlimentarian questioned a detained Russians arms dealer about a reported visit to Sri Lanka by deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The Thai media reported that Sirichoke Sopha, a Democrat MP and a close aide of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had asked Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout if Thaksin had secretly met President Mahinda Rajapaksa last year and if the meeting had links with the seizure of a plane with arms which was reportedly en-route to Sri Lanka.
Sirichoke Sopha confirmed Saturday that he had met with Bout in April, but denied that he had presented himself in his official capacity as a top aide, the Bangkok post reported.
Bout's wife, Alla, read a statement prepared by her husband at a press conference in Bangkok on Friday in which he claimed that Mr Sirichoke had introduced himself to her husband as a prime minister's aide while visiting the Russian on April 15.
Sirichoke said he had visited Mr Bout because the opposition party in Sri Lanka claimed on April 11 that deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra had secretly met the Sri Lankan president on Dec 12 last year.
That meeting took place one week before Thai authorities seized an aircraft loaded with 40 tonnes of arms that had departed from North Korea reportedly en route to Sri Lanka while it was on a refueling stop at Don Mueang airport.
Sirichoke said he wanted to learn from Mr Bout if the weapons might have been destined for Thailand to arm the pro-Thaksin red shirt movement.
According to the Bangkok post Prime Minister Abhisit said that Mr Sirichoke might have felt duty-bound as an MP to learn information vital to the national interest. (Daily Mirror online)