Kanchan Nanaware alias Bhoomi alias Sonali Patil (35), an alleged Maoist operative who was arrested with her husband Arun Bhelke alias Rajan alias Aditya Patil from Pune by the state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in September 2014, has applied for bail on medical grounds before a special court in Pune.
The ATS had recovered a forged PAN card, an Aadhaar card, a massive stock of medicines and other items from the couple. They are facing charges under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Lodged in Yerwada Central Prison since her arrest, Nanaware is suffering from a heart ailment. She has filed an application seeking bail through her lawyer Rohan Nahar. “Kanchan has undergone heart surgery a couple of times and was also admitted to the ICU of Sassoon hospital recently for a few days. Her medical condition is not good.
On September 23, we filed an application before the court seeking bail for her on medical grounds. The jail doctor’s report has been sought…. The next date of hearing is October 10…,” Nahar told The Indian Express.
The daughter of a retired bank officer, Nanaware hails from Chandrapur, and has suffered from a heart disease since college. She came in contact with Bhelke and became an active member of his Deshbhakti Yuva Manch (DYM), which was later branded by police as a front for the banned Communist Party of India (CPI-Maoist).
According to police, the couple was initially arrested in January 2008 under sections of the UAPA in an arms recovery case in Chandrapur.
According to police, after being released on bail, the couple went underground and operated under the aliases of Rajan and Bhoomi. They were also booked in another UAPA case at Duggipur police station, Gondia, in 2010. Police alleged that the couple took arms training in jungles.
It is alleged that despite her illness, Nanaware travelled in the jungles, looked after first aid, medication and completed other tasks given to her by the banned Maoist party. She was allegedly involved in procuring medicines from towns for CPI-Maoist cadres.
In 2012, the ATS had arrested Angela Sontakke, secretary of the Golden Corridor Committee of CPI-Maoist, along with artists of the Pune-based Kabir Kala Manch, under the UAPA.
According to surrendered Maoist leader Pahadsingh, Bhelke had allegedly brought KKM artists on the run in this case to the jungles in Gadchiroli.
Investigators suspect that after Sontakke’s arrest, Bhelke and Nanaware took over the work of Golden Corridor Committee, which aimed at recruiting persons for the banned party from urban areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat and spreading the Maoist ideology of an armed struggle against the government in the region.
Also, according to the chargesheet filed by the ATS, Bhelke and Nanaware had developed contact with several youngsters from slums in Mumbai and Pune and tried to indoctrinate some of them into the Maoist movement.
The ATS probe showed that using the fake identity of Aditya Patil, Bhelke allegedly approached Arun Kamble, the then corporator of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh from Govandi in Mumbai, and with his help managed to procure a forged Aadhaar card, which was seized after his arrest. Kamble’s statement was recorded as a witness by the ATS.
Lawyer Nahar said the trial in this case was proceeding at a slow pace.