Retired Supreme Court Justice P B Sawant was “used” by organisations such as Bhima Koregaon Shauryadin Prerna Abhiyan and Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) to organise Elgaar Parishad, District Government Pleader Ujjwala Pawar told a special court in Pune on Thursday.
Pawar, while opposing the bail applications filed by six of the nine accused arrested in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case, said this was done “as per the strategy and tactics of the CPI-Maoist to exploit intellectuals”. Pune City Police, which is investigating the case, has maintained that KKM and Bhima Koregaon Shauryadin Prerna Abhiyan are ‘front organisations’ of CPI-Maoist and all the accused have links to the banned outfit.
The prosecutor told Special Judge K D Vadane that while Elgaar Parishad was organised “as per the objectives of the CPI-Maoist”, after the arrest of the accused, a “propaganda” was carried out to claim that the conclave was presided by Justice Sawant.
The prosecution claimed that the modus operandi of the “front organisations” was “to gather intellectuals and organise various programmes and seminars”. Under the guise of these programmes, the organisation carried out various activities “ to create hatred among people and destabilise the democratic government”, alleged Pawar.
Subscriber Only Stories
Justice Sawant had, earlier, criticised the Pune City Police’s handling of the case.
During the hearing, Pawar also read out details from letters and documents allegedly recovered from the accused and claimed that the Indian Association for Peoples Lawyers (IAPL) was also a front organisation of Maoists. Pawar alleged that meetings of underground Maoist operatives were held during IAPL programmes. Two of the accused, lawyer Surendra Gadling and rights activist Sudha Bharadwaj, are members of IAPL.
Pawar also claimed that the accused were involved in forming a ‘fact-finding committee”, to come up with reports that stated that the Maoists killed in police encounters were actually ‘adivasis’ (tribals)”. She alleged that the “Maoist front organisations” linked to the accused were helping Professor G N Saibaba, who was convicted on charges of being an active member of the CPI-Maoist.
Defence lawyers have denied all the allegations levelled by the Pune City Police and claimed that the “communication between Maoists and the accused”, presented as evidence, was fabricated.
The special court in Pune is hearing the bail applications of six of the nine accused: Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Gadling, Rona Wilson and Varavara Rao.
The prosecution concluded its arguments, opposing the bail applications of the accused, on Thursday. The hearings will continue on Friday. The bail applications of the remaining accused — Bharadwaj, Arun Ferriera and Vernon Gonsalves — are pending before the Bombay High Court.
Most of the accused, arrested last year and currently lodged in Yerawada jail, are prominent human rights activists.
Police have so far booked 23 persons, including “underground” former Maoist
commander Mupalla Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy, in connection with the case. All the accused have been charged under sections of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The Elgaar Parishad was a one-day conference held in Pune on December 31, 2017. Pune City Police has alleged that the Parishad was organised with help from Maoists and speeches made during the conclave triggered violence in Koregaon Bhima the next day. One person was killed and hundreds were injured in the violent clashes.
On voting day, Delhi Metro services to start at 4 am