A Pune police team on Wednesday searched human rights activist Father Stan Swamy’s residence in Ranchi in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case.
This is the second time Pune police conducted raids at the activist’s residence.
A senior police officer in Ranchi said Pune Police had taken some electronic material and some documents. Swami, 83, was not taken into custody.
The case pertains to the Elgaar Parishad conclave in Maharashtra’s Pune district on December 31, 2017. Police allege that it was funded by Maoists. According to the police chargesheet, the inciting speeches, statements, songs and other programmes held at Elgaar Parishad and during the previous campaigns “aggravated” the violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in Pune the next day.
Swamy, a Christian priest, has been claiming that he was framed in the Elgaar Parishad case because he has been working for the rights of the tribals.
However, police sources said an alleged Maoist communication seized from one of the accused — a letter for “Com. Prakash” by “Com. Sudha” — revealed Swamy’s name in connection with arranging funds.
Police have so far booked 23 persons, including Swamy, along with top underground Maoist leader Mupalla Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy and researcher Anand Teltumbde, in this case under sections of IPC and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. All are alleged to be active members of the banned CPI-Maoist.
Police said that probe into this case expanded beyond Elgaar Parishad and alleged Maoist activities of the accused persons are being investigated.
Investigation into the case began after an FIR was lodged in connection with the Elgaar Parishad event organised in Pune on December 31, 2017, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon.
The FIR initially named Elgaar Parishad organisers Harshali Potdar, Sudhir Dhawale of Republican Panthers along with Kabir Kala Manch artists Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap, Deepak Dhengle alleging that as per the strategy of the CPI (Maoist), they “mislead the Dalits and spread thoughts of violence” in their minds.
Then in April last year, teams of Pune city police conducted searches at the residence of suspects in this case. On June 6, police arrested Rona Wilson, Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and lawyer Surendra Gadling. On August 28, police teams conducted raids at several places in the country, including Swamy’s house. While Swamy was not arrested, police arrested five others — Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, P Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha.