Months after he was questioned for suspected Maoist links, Delhi University professor G N Saibaba was arrested by Maharashtra police on Friday afternoon from the university campus.
Saibaba’s family said he was returning home for lunch when his car was stopped by men in plain clothes. The car driver Prashant said, “We were on our way home when we were stopped outside the School of Open Learning by five-six men in civilian clothes. I was blindfolded and taken to the Civil Lines police station. After that, I was not allowed to see him.”
Saibaba’s wife Vasantha said, “When he did not reach home, I called him and the driver. Both didn’t take my calls. Around 3 pm, I got a call from someone who claimed to be from Gadchiroli police. He asked me if I was Saibaba’s wife and then said they had arrested him. When I asked why, the call was cut.”
Vasantha went to the Maurice Nagar police station where she was told that a team from Gadchiroli had come at 9 am. Saibaba, who teaches English at Ram Lal Anand College and is wheelchair-bound, is the deputy secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front.
Inspector General of Police (Nagpur range) Ravindra Kadam confirmed the arrest. “Saibaba was arrested around 2 pm while he was on his way back from the college,” he said. His arrest comes months after he was questioned by police at his home on North Campus. In September 2013, police searched his house — they took away pen drives and reading material — on the basis of disclosures made by journalist and activist Prashant Rahi who had been arrested by Gadchiroli police. Rahi was held after police arrested and questioned JNU student Hem Mishra for suspected Maoist links.
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Saibaba was charged under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and will be produced before a court in Aheri town of Gadchiroli, where a chargesheet has been filed against him, Mishra and Rahi. “We have established their Maoist connections on the basis of various material, including a hard disk recovered from Saibaba’s residence during a search operation last year, and a micro-chip seized from Rahi, apart from other literature. We got the material checked from government forensic authorities,” Kadam said. “Saibaba was a single-point hub between underground and urban Maoist cadres…,” he said.