Elgaar Parishad probe: Enough evidence to show arrested activists aiding Maoists, claim police

Briefing reporters on the content of the letters, the ADGP said, "Sudha Bhardwaj had written a letter to Comrade Prakash and spoke about the use of social media to highlight rights' abuse. She also said that the work against the enemies was on track.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 31, 2018 9:31:46 pm
Maharashtra ADGP PB Singh addresses the media in Mumbai on Friday. (Express photo/Amit Chakravarty) Maharashtra ADGP PB Singh addresses the media in Mumbai on Friday. (Express photo/Amit Chakravarty)

Maharashtra Police on Friday claimed to have ‘conclusive proof’ against the activists who were arrested as part of the probe into the Elgaar Parishad event on December 31, 2017, a day before the violence that targeted Dalits in Bhima Koregaon.

While addressing the media in Mumbai, Additional Directorate General of Police (ADGP) Param Bir Singh claimed, “When we were confident that clear links have been established then only we moved to take action against these people, in different cities. The evidence collected so far clearly establishes links of arrested activists with Maoist organisations.”

While claiming to have seized “thousands” of documents from password-protected devices from the home of Rona Wilson, an activist who was arrested in June, the ADGP said, “An email letter, between Rona Wilson and a CPI-Maoist leader spoke of ending Modi-raj with a Rajiv Gandhi-type incident.” He added that the letter also sought money for procuring grenade launchers.

Read | Probing Maoist ‘link’ to Dalit event, Pune police arrest five activists

The ADGP also said that some of the letters exchanged between the arrested activists spoke of planning ‘some big action’ which would attract attention. “Pune Police was able to decode the seized documents,” he said, adding that police is working on clones of the devices while the originals were kept in the Forensic Lab.

Stating that “thousands of letters” were exchanged between the overground and the underground of Maoists, Singh said, “Sudha Bhardwaj had written a letter to Comrade Prakash and spoke about the use of social media to highlight rights’ abuse. She also said that the work against the enemies was on track. Sudha had sought financial aid from Prakash.”

“There was a conspiracy against the established government, to overthrow it and break down the law and order. The Maoists have been using the activists to form an all-India front to bring down the government. The central committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) had sanctioned payments of Rs 15 lakh to the arrested overground cadres to fan violence post-Bhima Koregaon,” he added.

Read | Dissent safety valve of democracy, pressure cooker will burst if not allowed, says SC

Asserting that the sanctity of the evidence collected in the case cannot be questioned as all seizures were made in the presence of the arrested accused, panch witnesses and videographed, Singh said, “This is a propaganda spread by overground cadres to discredit the police.”

On Tuesday, Pune police had searched homes of nine human rights activists and lawyers and arrested five of them. Those arrested after near-simultaneous searches were Varavara Rao in Hyderabad; activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai; lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj in Faridabad; and, civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha in New Delhi.

Read | Lawyer who took on UAPA now has same law used against her

Police claimed that the speeches made at the Elgaar Parishad meeting amounted to incitement and triggered the January 1 violence in which Dalits were targeted.

However, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Maharashtra government and observed that “dissent is the safety valve of democracy… if it is not allowed, the pressure cooker will burst.” The top court directed that the five rights activists and lawyers arrested be placed under house arrest until the matter is heard next on September 6.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App