The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has alleged in its chargesheet filed in the Elgar Parishad case that former IIT professor Anand Teltumbde attended international conferences “under the guise of… academic visits abroad” and brought back Maoist literature and videos on “ideology, tactics, weapons” to show members of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
Teltumbde, who taught at IIT-Kharagpur and later at the Goa Institute of Management before his arrest on April 14, is also alleged to have “inspired” his younger brother, Milind Teltumbde, who has been named in the chargesheet as an absconding accused and top operative of CPI (Maoist).
“Anand Teltumbde used to attend international conferences under the guise of his academic visits abroad viz Philippines, Peru, Turkey, and other countries and used to bring Maoist literature and videos (in pen drive/ memory cards) related to their ideology, tactics, weapons used by them, period of attacks, planning of sudden attacks in spite of routine Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign during Naxal weeks, extension of zones and increasing members of recruitment for CPI (Maoist) organisation,” the NIA chargesheet alleges.
“The said foreign literature and videos were shown to members of CPI (Maoist) in training and classes after approval in Central Committee Member meetings,” it claims.
While denying such charges during the probe, Teltumbde had said that his visits abroad for academic conferences were through official invitations and well-documented.
The chargesheet, which was filed on October 9 before a special court in Mumbai, also includes a statement by a witness claiming that he recalled Teltumbde making a statement during a meeting to “reinvent Dalit militancy as well as revolutionary resurgence under Maoist leadership”.
Citing statements of witnesses, the NIA has claimed that Milind visited various cities, including Pune, Chandrapur, Bhopal and Indore, and would meet Teltumbde “for taking guidance to advance the movement of CPI (Maoist) in jungle as well as urban areas”.
In an open letter written before his arrest, 70-year old Teltumbde had said: “Never in my worst dreams could I imagine the things that began happening to me. Although I was aware that the police used to visit the organisers of my lectures — mostly universities — and scare them with enquiries about me, I thought they might be mistaking me for my brother who left the family years ago.”
The NIA took over the probe in January from the Pune police. It filed a supplementary chargesheet running into 10,000 pages against eight persons, including Teltumbde, activist-journalist Gautam Navlakha, Delhi University associate professor Hany Babu, three members of the cultural group Kabir Kala Manch, Jharkhand-based Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Stan Swamy, and Milind.
On Navlakha, the NIA has cited claims by a witness that he wrote books on Maoists and visited jungles along with a Swedish writer and met Maoist leaders. Navlakha wrote for a weekly magazine.
“Gautam Navlakha always speaks of Left-oriented politics and had done fact-finding to further the ideology of CPI (Maoist), so he was a sympathiser of Maoists,” the NIA quoted a witness as saying. The witness also claimed that Navlakha is a “very good friend” of arrested accused Telugu activist and poet Varavara Rao.
On Swamy, the chargesheet claims: “Since from the maximum part of the country, party members (of CPI Maoist) were arrested and the party was not having any face, so it gave responsibility to Stan Swamy as he was against the government. Stan Swamy is having his own identity. Stan Swamy is having his own NGO at Jharkhand.”
In a statement given before his arrest, Swamy had said that he was being targeted for expressing dissent and working for tribal rights, including the wrongful arrest of young adivasis in Jharkhand.
The NIA has also recorded statements of witnesses who submitted that Babu and another accused Rona Wilson were “instrumental in arranging meetings and funds in support of G N Saibaba” who has been convicted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The chargesheet claims that Wilson was involved in organising legal support for political prisoners. “Rona and Hany Babu have inculcated Maoist sympathies in the students in Delhi and more specifically Dalit and students coming from other oppressed backgrounds,” a witness is quoted as telling the NIA. The chargesheet also includes a statement by a witness claiming that he “had heard about Umar Khalid” being an urban party member.
On the three Kabir Kala Manch members — Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap — the chargesheet claims that Milind used to discuss with them about the Elgar Parishad event held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017. It alleges that with the help of these members and others, including social workers, teachers, advocates, doctors, the event’s platform was to be used for spreading Maoist ideology.
The NIA claims that the violence against Dalits assembled at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018, was triggered by incitement through speeches at the event. A separate FIR by the Pune police on January 2 has named Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, for alleged incitement leading to the violence.