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 A Sri Lankan minister has stirred up a controversy by alleging that the LTTE had funded the production of Tamil movies as part of its

international business ventures. Resettlement and disaster relief services minister Abdul Risath Bathiyutheen reportedly said films thus tainted by 'LTTE blood money' included Tamil superstar Rajnikanth's movies.

Bathiyutheen made this charge in an interview to, which quoted him as saying, "Millions and millions of US dollars were given to a London-based Tamilian. He was asked to produce Tamil films in Chennai with top stars like Rajnikanth."

When contacted, Rajnikanth's office said the actor refused to comment on the issue. Hansraj Saxena, COO, Sun Films, which is producing his latest blockbuster 'Enthiran', said any linking of such allegations with 'Enthiran' was "the biggest joke of the year."

The interview also had a mention of pro-LTTE Tamil Nadu politicians like S Ramadoss (PMK), Vaiko (MDMK), Thol Thirumavalavan (VCK) and P Nedumaran (Tamil Nationalist Movement) as the other alleged beneficiaries. However, these quarters dismissed the allegation outright, dubbing it a tactic to divert attention from the humanitarian crisis faced by displaced Tamils in the island.

While those in the film industry said their funding sources were above board, a police official said such charges had been heard of in terms of logistical support or hospitality extended to film units abroad, but he had not come across a single case to prove it. The world of film finance is known to be opaque, especially due to the fact that until recently it did not enjoy the status of an industry and therefore had little or no access to institutional finance through banks. In recent years, with the advent of corporates, the system has undergone changes.

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