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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Threat letters targeting Devendra Fadnavis: Case likely to be handed over to ATS

While the Chief Minister enjoys the highest security cover of Z-plus category, sources say that after the recent threat perception, additional security measures have been put in place especially during the Chief minister’s public visits or meets.

Written by Rashmi Rajput | Mumbai | Published: July 12, 2018 4:32:12 am
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. (File)

NEARLY A month after the Mumbai police received a communique from the Maharashtra State Home Department apprising them of threat letters allegedly from Maoist organisations plotting to kill Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his family members, the Gadchiroli police have registered a case. Sources told The Indian Express that the case could be handed over to the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) for further probe.

“Looking at the gravity of the matter, a case has been registered by the Gadchiroli police but a decision will be soon taken to transfer the case to the Maharashtra ATS which is a specialised unit,” said a senior official from the Director General of Police office. Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli, Abhinav Deshmukh confirmed the development and said that the police are probing the source, and whether the letters were indeed sent by the outfits mentioned in them.

“A case has been registered under Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (criminal intimidation) and certain sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and investigations are under way to probe the source and the author of the letters,” Deshmukh said.

“While there has been a general threat perception against the CM of Maharashtra and also the CMs of other Naxal-affected states of Chhattisgarh and Telangana, specific threat inputs were received post the two encounters, one carried out by us and another carried out by Greyhounds in Chhattisgarh earlier this year. After these encounters, we seized many pamphlets and communique threatening to kill the CMs of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Telangana. Investigations are under way to probe these letters and if there is any connection between them,” Deshmukh said.

While the state secretariat communique to the Mumbai police mentions two letters received by them, the Gadchiroli police are probing three letters. “We are probing three threat letters and trying to ascertain if there is any link between the three,” said another official from the DGP office.

According to officials in the state home department, the CMO received two letters – one on May 13 and another on May 18, 2018. While the first is purportedly from Communist Party of India (Maoist) Central Committee, the other is by Communist Party of India (Maoist) Dandakaranya special zonal committee. Both the letters received at the state secretariat were handed over to the State Intelligence Bureau (SID).

The five-page letter reviewed by The Indian Express states that there is a need to avenge the deaths of ‘revolutionaries’ killed in the recent Gadchiroli encounter. While the Chief Minister enjoys the highest security cover of Z-plus category, sources say that after the recent threat perception, additional security measures have been put in place especially during the Chief minister’s public visits or meets.  Also his visitors are being screened thoroughly.

His family members including his wife Amruta and daughter Divija have been given Y-plus security. “Based on inputs received by the SID, the security cover of the CM’s kin has been upgraded and more escorts have been added to the CM’s convoy,” said a senior official of the Mumbai police. “A ‘d-cordon’, which basically is a minimum secure distance from the dais and the public is now in place during the CM’s public meets. This means that no member of the public can enter the ‘d-cordon’. Also at the meetings, the first ring would comprise women and elderly who are deemed as ‘low value threat’,” said the official.

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