A day after they arrested five persons, including a Dalit rights activist, a professor and a former Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellow, for alleged Maoist links, Pune police Thursday began probing a seized email that suggested plans to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi in “another Rajiv Gandhi type incident” by “targeting his roadshows”.
Seeking police custody of the five arrested persons who have been booked under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, district government pleader Ujjwala Pawar told a Pune court about information gathered from the material seized from those picked up.
Without naming Modi, Pawar told the court about a communication that spoke of “another Rajiv Gandhi type incident”.
Pawar also submitted a letter which police claim to have recovered from the laptop of one of the five arrested. The letter, police suspect, was from a central committee member of the banned CPI (Maoist). She read out parts of the letter.
Those arrested Wednesday from different locations are Elgaar Parishad organiser Sudhir Dhawale, leader of Mumbai-based Republican Panthers Jati Antachi Chalwal (RP); Delhi-based activist Rona Wilson of Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP); Nagpur lawyer Surendra Gadling of Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL); Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen; and Mahesh Raut, a former Prime Minister’s Rural Development (PMRD) Fellow.
Police said the five were among those behind the Elgaar Parishad, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017. Police are probing whether speeches made at this meeting led to the violence in Koregaon Bhima on January 1 during the 200th year celebration of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon — for the Dalits, this battle is a matter of pride because a largely Mahar contingent of the British East India Company defeated the Peshwa army of the Maratha Confederacy.
The five were produced before the court Thursday. While Gadling was produced in the morning, the other four were produced before a special court in Shivajinagar around 3 pm. All five were sent to police custody until June 14.
Police sources claimed that “there is mention in this (seized) communication that Modi has successfully established BJP government in more than 15 states, that if this pace continues, then it would mean immense trouble for the Maoist party on all fronts, and that they were thinking along the lines of another Rajiv Gandhi type incident… that targeting his roadshows could be an effective strategy”.