A team of Pune City Police visited the Press Club of India (PCI) in New Delhi on Saturday to verify “information recovered from emails” of one the five activists arrested in June over their alleged Maoist links. Police sources said an email dated April 18, 2017, seized from the laptop of Rona Wilson, stated — ‘On April 20, we will organise another programme under the banner – Committee for the Defence and Release of G N Saibaba’.
The Pune City Police team visited the PCI to check details of the “programme” allegedly referred to in the “emails” — a press conference held at the venue on April 20, 2017, organised by the committee, which was campaigning for the release of Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, said sources.
Saibaba was arrested over alleged Maoist links in May 2014. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a Gadhchiroli court in March 2017.
Wilson, a member of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners, was also part of the Committee for the Defence and Release of G N Saibaba, said a source.
“It was learnt that this programme regarding G N Saibaba was a press conference held in PCI, New Delhi, on April 20, 2017. So, a police team went to the PCI and checked information like booking slips and other details. Police have collected the essential details and further probe is on. It was to check the veracity of the communication recovered from the suspect (Rona). It was not an action against PCI or the person who made the booking for this conference,” said a senior police officer.
On June 6, Pune City Police had arrested Wilson, along with Sudhir Dhawale, leader of the Mumbai-based Republican Panthers Jati Antachi Chalwal, or RP, Nagpur-based lawyer Surendra Gadling of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut, a former Prime Minister Rural Development (PMRD) fellow, also held in Nagpur, for alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist, following an investigation into a case lodged in connection with the Elgaar Parishad.
The complainant in the case had alleged that the Parishad, a conference held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, had triggered the violence in Koregaon Bhima on January 1, during the 200th year celebrations of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. One person was killed and several injured in the violence that had broken out between various groups.
All the arrested accused were booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and police have alleged that they played a role in providing Maoist funds for the Elgaar Parishad.
On June 7, while seeking police custody of the five accused, District Government Pleader Ujjwala Pawar had, without naming the Prime Minister, told the court about a “communication seized from Wilson that spoke of another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident”. The communication, allegedly between “Comrade Prakash and R”, is being probed by the investigators.
Other than the five accused, the FIR names 14 persons, including four alleged underground CPI-Maoist operatives — central committee member Milind Teltumbde, Prakash alias Ritupam Goswami, Manglu and Deepu.
Police have submitted before the court that they have recovered data worth 25,000 GB from the digital devices seized from the five accused. Cloned copies of the recovered data have been obtained from the forensic department and are being investigated, said police.