The Pune Sessions Court on Sunday sent activist, writer and poet P Varavara Rao to police custody till November 26 in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case, news agency ANI reported. Rao was taken into custody after his house arrest granted by the Hyderabad High Court ended on Saturday.
Police have alleged that Rao was a senior and active leader of the banned CPI-Maoist and was involved in a range of activities, including procurement of weapons through contacts in Nepal and Manipur, and carrying out attacks in Surjagad in Gadhchiroli.
Pune City Police had arrested Rao, along with activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Gautam Navlakha, on August 28 over alleged links with the CPI-Maoist and for organising the Elgaar Parishad event on December 31 that allegedly led to the Bhima Koregaon violence.
The activists were accused of being part of the “larger conspiracy of the banned CPI-Maoist to form an ‘anti-fascist front’ for overthrowing the democratic government of India”. They were all charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
On September 28, the Supreme Court had put all five accused under house arrest for four weeks. Bharadwaj, Ferreira and Gonsalves had applied for bail, but their applications were rejected by the court and they were arrested by the police. They are currently under judicial custody. On October 1, the Delhi High Court had freed Navlakha from house arrest.
On October 25, the Hyderabad High Court had extended Rao’s house arrest by three weeks. However, Rao’s subsequent petition to quash the transit warrant of Pune City Police was rejected by the High Court. Once the house arrest came to an end on Saturday, Rao was taken into custody from his residence at Jawaharnagar, Secunderabad, by a team led by ACP Shivaji Pawar.