Opposing the bail application filed by activist Sudha Bharadwaj, Pune City Police on Wednesday alleged that she played a role in mobilising party cadres and funds for the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist. Pune police made the claims while filing its response against the bail plea filed by Bharadwaj before a special court in Pune on October 4.
Bharadwaj was one of the five rights activists arrested by Pune City Police on August 28 for their alleged links with CPI-Maoist, in connection with a case filed over Elgaar Parishad, a one-day conference held in Pune on December 31, 2017, to mark the 200th year of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. Police have claimed the Parishad was funded by CPI-Maoist and the accused played a role in it.
In its response, submitted before the court through District Government Pleader Ujjwala Pawar, Pune City Police claimed that Bharadwaj was an active member of CPI-Maoist. Police also alleged that Bharadwaj was involved in the mobilisation of cadres and funds of CPI-Maoist, and was also involved in recruitment activities for the outfit.
Police also claimed to have recovered letters and communications from the accused, which allegedly revealed details of Bharadwaj’s links with the CPI-Maoist. The court will hear Bharadwaj’s bail application on October 16.
Days after their arrest, Bharadwaj, along with activists P Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Gautam Navlakha, were put under house arrest by the Supreme Court. On September 28, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition for a SIT probe in the case and said the five activists would remain under house arrest for four weeks. But the court had also said the accused could seek legal recourse at the appropriate court.
The FIR in the case, lodged by Pune resident Tushar Damgude on January 8, initially named Harshali Potdar, Sudhir Dhawale of Republican Panthers, Sagar Gorkhe, and Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap, Deepak Dhengle of the Pune-based Kabir Kala Manch. It claimed that the accused, as per the strategy of the CPI- Maoist, “mislead the Dalits and spread thoughts of violence”.
On June 6, police had arrested activist Rona Wilson, Nagpur-based lawyer Surendra Gadling, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, former Prime Minister Rural Development fellow Mahesh Raut and Sudhir Dhawale in connection with the case. All of them are lodged in Yerawada jail.The accused in the case have been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The Delhi High Court had, on October 1, ended Navlakha’s house arrest. The Maharashtra government has moved the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court order.