Three alleged Maoist communications recovered from the five ‘urban Maoists’ arrested by Pune City Police in June have been submitted before the Nagpur High Court during a hearing to decide the bail application filed by Professor G N Saibaba. Saibaba, a former Delhi University professor and a wheelchair-bound activist, was convicted by a Gadchiroli court in March 2017 for his alleged involvement in the activities of the banned CPI-Maoist. He has sought bail on medical grounds and the court is yet to pass an order.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Special Public Prosecutor P K Sathianathan confirmed that the three ‘Maoist letters’, which allegedly mentioned Saibaba, were shared by Pune City Police and submitted before the High Court recently. The three letters include a communication dated November 5, 2017, purportedly between ‘Com. Surendra’ and ‘Comrade Prakash’. In the letter, ‘Com. Surendra’ allegedly tells ‘Comrade Prakash’ that he had a meeting with ‘Com. Sai’ — which refers to Saibaba, claim investigation agencies.
‘Com. Surendra’ allegedly says that the party has told ‘Com. Sai’ to file an application for his transfer to a jail in Andhra Pradesh, where a senior activist who has spoken to some leaders and to some members of the judiciary will try to effectively complete the process (of bail). The letter purportedly mentions the deteriorating health of ‘Com. Sai’ as a loss to the party and emphasises the need to take some immediate steps so that justice is delivered to ‘Com. Sai’, along with ‘Com. Prashant’ and ‘Com. Hem’.
It also allegedly mentions that ‘Com. Surendra’ received some important letter by hand from ‘Com. Soma’, who, as per the instructions of the party, has destroyed some computer data, including ‘A.T.P’ files given by the party, old and new letters and other information. ‘Com. Surendra’ allegedly also tells ‘Comrade Prakash’ about his plan to go to Kolkata in November, as per the instructions of the party, where he would be discussing issues related to ‘IPL’ and ‘PPSC’ with “underground comrades” of the party. The letter suggests that urban Maoist operatives allegedly tried to develop contacts in judiciary and politics in Andhra Pradesh to help secure bail for Saibaba.
In a press conference held in Delhi in January this year, Saibaba’s wife Vasantha Kumari had alleged that the government wanted to end the professor’s life while he was imprisoned. She demanded that Saibaba be shifted to a jail in Hyderabad, so that he could be around family and receive treatment at good government hospitals. Saibaba, who is serving a life term at Nagpur Central Jail, is 90 per cent disabled and suffers 19 ailments, Vasantha Kumari had said.
The three letters are allegedly part of recoveries made from activists Rona Wilson from Delhi, Sudhir Dhawale from Mumbai, former Prime Minister Rural Development (PMRD) fellow Mahesh Raut, Professor Shoma Sen from Nagpur and lawyer Surendra Gadling, secretary of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), who had provided legal aide to G N Saibaba.
The five accused were arrested on June 6, in connection with the offence related to the Elgaar Parishad held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31. They are facing charges under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Besides the five accused, the FIR, in this case, names 14 persons including Harshali Potdar of Mumbai, Kabir Kala Manch artistes Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap, Deepak Dhengle of Pune and four underground CPI- Maoist operatives, Milind Teltumbde, Prakash alias Ritupam Goswami, Manglu and Deepu.
Police have said they are looking into 200 communications they have retrieved from the 25000 GB data recovered from the digital material seized from the five accused, which included an alleged Maoist communication dated January 2, 2018, stating “Bhima Koregaon agitation has been very effective.” Investigators say the accused had used PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) Encryption, programme to make the email communications more secure.
Meanwhile, Shoma Sen, Dhawale, Raut and Gadling were produced before a special court in Pune on Friday for a hearing in connection with the application filed by the state prison department, seeking permission to shift the accused to different jails in the state due to security reasons. Currently, all five are lodged in the Yerwada Central Prison. The next hearing in the case will take place on August 24.