Interviews to media, speeches at memorial lectures and criticism of central government for granting permission to various MNCs in Chhattisgarh have been listed by Maharashtra police among key evidence of alleged involvement of poet and columnist P Varavara Rao in the Elgaar Parishad violence.
Sources said details shared by Maharashtra police with the Centre ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on Thursday describe Rao as national president of Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) and add that while speaking to media on April 24, 2018, Rao had alleged that the encounter in Gadhchiroli, in which 37 suspected Maoists were killed, was fake. The district administration has ordered a magisterial probe into the killings.
Maharashtra police, sources said, has mentioned a meeting between Rao, Veron Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Rona Wilson at Mumbai in October 2017 for securing bail for DU professor G Saibaba. Another meeting in the same month with students of TISS, IIT-Bangalore and Mumbai University has also found mention in police documents, said sources. Maharashtra police has said that during the “closed door” meeting, Rao urged student activists to sustain the movement against government’s policies allegedly “encouraging saffronisation and privatisation of education”, sources said.
Maharashtra police has said RDF is among 128 “front” organisations identified by Home Ministry in 2012. As per the report, Rao is accused of organising events in Hyderabad and “participating in seminars in Delhi, Jharkhand, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab and West Bengal” between 2010 and 2017 where he allegedly “held deliberation with the leaders of Maoist affiliates”, sources said. Rao’s presence in a meet organised in memory of Patel Sudhakar Reddy, a member of central committee of CPI (Maoist), was cited as part of his efforts to “carry forward the Maoist ideology”, sources said.