Pune: The Pune police on Tuesday carried out searches in residences of prominent lawyers and activists across India in connection with their ongoing investigation into alleged Maoist links with the Elgar Parishad held on 31 December 2017, which was followed by large-scale violence at Bhima-Koregaon areas.
While investigating the incidents of violence, the police had also stumbled upon evidence that some Maoists with links to the organisers of the self-styled Dalit event were planning to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi following the LTTE’s manner of eliminating Rajiv Gandhi.
According to senior police officials, searches were conducted at eight places simultaneously in Hyderabad, Ranchi, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Mumbai.
A team of Pune Police on Tuesday morning searched the Mumbai residences of lawyer Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Pereira, who were representing the case of five persons arrested previously for alleged Maoist connections.
One team also searched the house of Father Stan Swamy in Ranchi while another team was conducting search houses of revolutionary writer and Maoist ideologue P Varavara Rao in Hyderabad. Rao’s family claimed that he was later arrested by the police.
Officials said they started searches at 6 AM and will continue through the day. “We have recovered some documents, laptops and other material. The scrutiny of seized items is on,” said a senior official on the condition of anonymity.
Sources said that names of those whose houses are being searched came up during the interrogation of five persons arrested in June – Sudhir Dhawale, a member of the Republican Panthers; Surendra Gadling, a prominent lawyer; Rona Wilson, a Maoist activist; Mahesh Raut, a former Prime Minister’s rural development fellow and Soma Sen, a retired Nagpur University professor.
They were arrested for having close Maoist links after they allegedly made “provocative” speeches at the Elgar Parishad on 31 December to commemorate 200 years of the Koregaon Bhima battle, triggering violence at Koregaon Bhima village in the district, according to an FIR registered at the Vishrambaug Police Station after the event.
Legal experts that Sirf News spoke to said that the nature of documentary evidence the police have may at best pin the Maoists down on account of the dubious financial transactions their NGOs are involved in.
Already, Delhi High Court has stayed the remand order of Navlakha after a habeas corpus was filed to protect him.