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WHO HE IS: Rohan Gunaratna is an international terrorism expert who claims to have interviewed hundreds of terrorists and who heads a research centre in Singapore. He was the chief adviser last fall to federal immigration investigators trying to determine the identities of 76 Tamil refugees. His chief area of expertise is Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Controversial at times, Prof. Gunaratna's critics suggest that he relies too much on secret sources and makes sensational claims he can't always back up.

WHAT HE SAYS: Toronto, already home to the largest diaspora of Tamils outside of Asia, is a magnet for militants. "There is no better place for Tamil Tigers to reconstitute than in Canada," he said in an interview.

He claims that the man who masterminded the voyage, Ravi Shankar Kanagarajah, is a Canadian Tamil whom the Mounties are looking for.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT HIS CLAIM: "I am satisfied that some weight must be given to Dr. Gunaratna's assertions," wrote federal Immigration and Refugee Board member Lynda Mackie in one ruling last fall. "... It is possible, even probable, that some of the men on board have links to the LTTE."

But another IRB member, Otto Nupponen, said Prof. Gunaratna was "too cozy" with the Sri Lankan government.

"Therefore, when the good doctor says that the Princess Easwary is an LTTE ship without revealing any sources, one needs to put some thought into that. Who, in fact, are those sources? How credible and trustworthy are those unknown secret sources?"

A Federal Court, however, later overruled the tribunal member, finding he was too quick to impugn Prof. Gunaratna's credibility. The board owed federal investigators and expert witnesses more deference, the judge said, as Canada raced to determine what links -- if any -- the ship has to the Tamil Tigers.