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Former Customs officer arrested for training Naxals in Kerala

Surat police,which is probing the spread of Naxal influence in the state,has arrested Nagpur-based retired Customs Officer — Vishwanath Vardharajan Iyer (60) — for suspected Naxal links.

Written by Kamaal Saiyed | Surat |
April 23, 2010 1:42:13 am

Surat police,which is probing the spread of Naxal influence in the state,has arrested Nagpur-based retired Customs Officer — Vishwanath Vardharajan Iyer (60) — for suspected Naxal links. According to the police,Iyer is among those who provided guerilla warfare training to a few from Gujarat in the jungles in Kerala,sometime in 2000.

The police are probing Iyer’s links with the Philippines Communist Party,which is believed to have conducted a guerilla warfare training camp in Kerala,in which 30 from India,including two from Gujarat — Bharat Puwar and Sulat Puwar — had reportedly participated.

The police said Iyer is one of the central committee members of CPI ML — Janshakti which is believed to have Naxal-Maoist links. His arrest follows that of two tribal activists from Dangs — Avinash Kulkarni and Bharat Puwar — who are now lodged in the Surat district jail.

A bachelor,residing with his sister,Iyer took voluntary retirement from the Customs Department in 1988 from Nagpur where he was last posted. He has a good service track record.

The police said Iyer belongs to Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu,and the family is known in the region for its strong classical music traditions.

Iyer’s father is a noted classical musician,while his uncle is known to have trained yesteryear film actor Vyjantimala in kathak,the police said. Iyer,according to the police,made his mark in the Customs Department by arresting big smugglers and recovering huge quantity of goods from them.

So far,the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Surat police to probe Naxal links has arrested nine people and Iyer’s arrest follows their questioning.

The police said literature related to CPI ML — Janshakti,in

addition to incriminating CDs and DVDs have also been recovered.

Surat Range I G A K Singh said,“We have found some more leads.”

The police said Iyer regularly visited Gujarat and was on good terms with Kulkarni. Singh said the Gujarat Police is in touch with their Kerala counterparts for more details.

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