Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar on Wednesday slammed Pune Police over the recent arrests of five activists in connection with a case filed over Elgaar Parishad. Ambedkar was one of the key speakers at the one-day conference held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon on January 1.
On whether he was ready for a police inquiry in the case, Ambedkar said, “I am waiting for Ravindra Kadam (joint commissioner of Pune City Police, who is heading the investigation team)… I will issue a legal notice to the police and show them my legal strength.”
On June 6, Pune City Police had arrested five suspects, including Rona Wilson from Delhi, Sudhir Dhawale from Mumbai, lawyer Surendra Gadling, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen and former Prime Minister Rural Development (PMRD) fellow Mahesh Raut from Nagpur, over alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist and playing a role in “providing Maoist funds for Elgaar Parishad”. All of them are currently in police custody.
During arguments in court, District Government Pleader Ujjwala Pawar had read out content, allegedly from email communications recovered from the accused, suggesting an alleged Maoist plot to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi. One of the emails had, allegedly, mentioned Prakash Ambedkar as a supporter of Maoists. Ambedkar, however, said the police action was part of political vendetta.
“The BJP knows that I can bring all political parties together against them in 2019 elections……Police can’t arrest retired Supreme Court Justice P B Sawant, retired High Court Justice B G Kolse Patil, as they are judges, so they are targeting me because I am a common man,” he said.
Justices Sawant and Kolse Patil were reportedly among the convenors of Elgaar Parishad. Ambedkar claimed police were “falling into their own trap”, as they had said Elgaar Parishad was funded by Maoists, then told court about an alleged plot to kill PM Modi, then they had “come up with details about an event in JNU”. “Police have been changing their stand…,” said Ambedkar.
He also raised doubts about the letters allegedly seized by police from the accused. “If police have to make such letters public, there is a process described by a government regulation. I want to ask Ravindra Kadam why that process was not followed…Also, regarding the letters, experts have said that is not the way Maoists work.”