Gujarat police arrest former Maoist leader from Nagpur-bound train
Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya was wanted by Gujarat police for his alleged extremist activities in the tribal areas of Surat, Navsari and Dangs.india Updated: Aug 08, 2017 15:46 IST
Gujarat police arrested a former central committee member of the banned CPI(Maoist) group near Nagpur on Tuesday morning.
Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya – who was also in charge of the rebel outfit’s Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and North Bihar divisions for several years – was returning from West Bengal on the Geetanjali Express when he was taken into custody. His wife, Nagpur University lecturer Soma Sen, said Bhattacharya had gone to visit his sister in Kolkata.
Prakash Meghe, a senior lawyer and the accused’s brother-in-law, said the police team accosted him while the train was plying between Gondia and Nagpur. They allegedly forced the 62-year-old former Maoist chieftan to turn off his mobile phone, and after showing him a warrant issued by a Surat court in connection with a 2010 case, whisked him away to Gujarat via Mumbai.
Meghe said Bhattacharya was allowed to call him from Nagpur airport. “He said the Gujarat police are taking him to Surat, and he would be produced before the court tomorrow,” he added.
Bhattacharya was earlier arrested by the Bihar police in September 2007 in connection with a four-decade-old Maoist raid on landlords at the historic Tappalapur village, now located in Telangana. He was lodged at the Cherlapally central prison in Hyderabad. After obtaining bail a couple of years ago, he moved into his wife’s house at Nagpur.
A Bengali settled in Telangana’s Adilabad district, Bhattacharya had entered the Maoist movement during the reign of radical leader Kondapalli Seetharamaiah. His youngest brother is a senior BJP leader in the area.
Bhattacharya was wanted by Gujarat police for his alleged extremist activities in the tribal areas of Surat, Navsari and Dangs. They had held 10 people – including retired customs officer Vishwanath Iyer – in this connection seven years ago. Among the other accused were a couple of Maoist leaders who allegedly imparted guerrilla warfare training to a number of Gujarati rebels in the forests of Kerala in 2000.