In an attempt to bolster its case against the activists arrested for their alleged links with a banned Maoist organisation, the Pune police on Monday produced two fresh pieces of “email communication” in a local court, and claimed that the top leadership of the CPI-Maoist was rattled with its investigation.
Government lawyer Ujjwala Pawar submitted two emails, allegedly exchanged between Ganapathy alias Chandrashekhar, the top commander of CPI-Maoist, and P Varavara Rao, a Hyderabad-based activist, after the Pune police had carried out its first round of multiple city raids and arrested five activists in June this year.
Pawar said Ganapathy had sent an email to Varavara Rao a few weeks later, on July 4, in which he had stated that “CC (which she claimed stood for Central Committee of the banned organisation) is deeply concerned about the recent arrests from DL and MH (which she said meant Delhi and Maharashtra)”.
Pawar read out some lines from the email and claimed that the conversation showed that the banned outfit was “concerned” with the fact that the law enforcement agencies had got access to their “confidential material” during the raids and seizures in June.
Pawar said in the email, Ganapathy had allegedly asked Varavara Rao to make an assessment of the “breach” and understand how all the material had landed in the hands of the police. He allegedly also asked Varavara Rao to “submit a report” assessing the damage from the arrests carried out on June 6, the lawyer submitted.
The lawyer then read out from another email, this one allegedly being the response sent by Varavara Rao to Ganapathy on July 14, in which Rao allegedly promised to send a detailed report, and stressed on the need to maintain “extreme caution” in view of the “blanket raids”.
Varavara Rao was himself arrested in another round of multi-city raids on August 28, along with four others. He is currently under house arrest, under directions from the Supreme Court.
The email communications were produced during the hearing of the bail petitions moved by arrested activists Sudha Bhardwaj, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves. These, and five others, including Varavara Rao, were arrested by Pune police in the course of its investigation into the alleged Maoist involvement in the organisation of Elgaar Parishad, a public event that was held in Pune on December 31 last year.
Police claims that the speeches made at Elgaar Parishad had a role to play in instigating violence that was witnessed in and around Pune the next day, January 1, when lakhs of people had gathered to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.
In justification of the arrests, Pune police had, in the past, produced “letters and other documents”, allegedly seized from the possession of the arrested activists. In one such letter, produced in a Pune court, one of the activists allegedly discussed the possibility of eliminating Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a “Rajiv Gandhi type” operation.
The activists have maintained that the letters and other ‘evidence’ produced by the police were forged and did not belong to them.
Even on Monday, the defence lawyers said the new material submitted by the prosecution was “unverified”, “not signed by anyone” and therefore “made no sense”.
“There is nothing more than unverified letters with the police. Let the police first verify these letters, but during this time, interim protection (in the form of bail) should be given to my client,” argued Ragini Ahuja, who is representing Sudha Bharadwaj. She said in any case, the new emails produced by police had no mention of Bharadwaj.
Pawar, however, argued that these two new emails showed an acknowledgement on the part of Maoist leader Ganapathy and Varavara Rao that their material had been seized by police.
She claimed that these two emails could be intercepted because the police had been keeping a track of certain email addresses. She claimed that in the two emails, Ganapathy and Varavara Rao discussed better encryption technologies for their electronic communication.
Pawar said the mail from Ganapathy allegedly mentioned that it was better to use multiple PGP keys (an encryption format) for securing their communications. Rao allegedly replied that he did not know how multiple PGP keys were used and that he would seek help from a student to ensure this.
The prosecution opposed the bail applications of the arrested activists. The hearings will continue on Tuesday.