The Maharashtra Police held a news briefing on Friday revealing the background behind the multi-city raids that were held a few days earlier that led to the detentions of five persons, who have subsequently been taken into house arrest following a Supreme Court ruling, and disclosed grave details of what was allegedly being hatched, involving heavy weaponry, a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister, and others.
Addressing the briefing, Param Bir Singh, ADG (Law and Order) of the Maharashtra Police, said that the case in question started on June 8 over the FIR was filed in the Elgar Parishad hate speech case and the caste violence that had broken out in Bhima Koregaon, Pune and Mumbai. He said that raids were carried out on accused persons such as Sudhir Dhawle, Rona Wilson and others, from whom a lot of materials were seized. The seizures were recorded on video, he was careful to state.
"During the investigation, we came to know that the Maoists were planning something big", he said, following which Rona Wilson and others were arrested. "We have evidence in the form of emails, letters, minutes of meeting and other things", he added, saying that the police had seized thousands of documents.
He spoke of encrypted central committee communication between Rona Wilson and Gadling, among other things and summed up, "We analysed all the evidence for two months and then we carried out searches at nine places and arrested them."
He read out a letter allegedly written by Sudha Bharadwaj to Comrade Prakash seeking funds to send JNU and TISS students for training in forest areas, as well as a letter allegedly written by central committee member Sudarshan to Gautam Navlakha, dated July 30, 2017, that said something along the lines of 'it being a very critical time' and 'we need to fight against fascist forces'.
Harkening back to the Bhima Koregaon violence, the Maharashtra top cop said that a case in the matter was registered on Jan 8 about the incident that had taken place on December 31, 2017, where hate speeches were delivered. And an investigation was conducted into it, he added, revealing 'almost all the accused were associated with Kabir Kala Manch'.
"When we were confident that clear links have been established, only then did we move to take action against these people, in different cities", he said about the recent raids, adding "Evidence clearly establishes their roles with Maoists".
He elaborated on their activities:
"Investigation revealed that a big conspiracy was being plotted by Maoist organisations. The accused were helping them to take their goals forward. A terrorist organisation was also involved."
He then came to the procurement of weapons, focusing on Varavara Rao directly: "Rs 8 crore was required for arms procurement. Varavara Rao was authorised to speak to Arms dealers of Nepal. Procurement of Russian and Chinese arms were discussed."
Stating that the group had international links and that meetings had been conducted in Paris and other places, Param Bir Singh went on to read out the letters relating to procuring arms that was allegedly written by those who have been arrested. This included a catalogue of deadly weapons, allegedly sent by Rona Wilson to Comrade Prakash with mention of 'VV' as procurer. The catalogue contained the following two weapons:
"There was a conspiracy by Maoists to overthrow an established government", he declared, making clear that all the original evidence is secured by forensic science labs to which the police has no access.
He also spoke about documents that link the accused to purported activities in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as in Manipur, and on the matter of the apparent setback delivered to the investigation by the Supreme Court, he said, "It is not our failure. We will file our reply in the Supreme Court. Under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) we have already filed a plea to extend the investigation."
Five persons -- Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves are currently under house arrest following the Supreme Court's ruling, with notice issued to the Maharashtra government. The case is to be heard again on September 6.
Get today’s India news and stay updated with latest news headlines. Follow the latest India news and never miss out on any updates from the world of Politics, Economy, Elections etc. Download the app or visit Republic World to watch Live TV & get all the breaking news from India.