Maharashtra Police reiterates rights activists plotted to overthrow government
Mumbai : Justifying the arrest of five rights activists, Maharashtra's Additional Director-General of Police Parambir Singh on Friday said police have clear evidence to show their links with Maoist organisations and a larger conspiracy to overthrow the central government.
Addressing a special media briefing here, ADG Singh (law and order), exhibited certain emails, letters and other communication allegedly changing hands among the activists, whose arrests three days ago from different parts of India triggered nationwide condemnation.
"There was a bigger conspiracy plotted by the Maoist organisations to overthrow the 'lawfully established Indian government' using arms procured from countries like China and Russia and the arrested accused played a crucial role in this plan," Singh said.
On August 28, Pune Police had carried out the arrests of lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj, civil liberties activists Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Fereira and Telugu poet P. Varavara Rao from different parts of India, as part of investigations into the January 1 Koregaon-Bhima caste riots.
Singh revealed that the five activists were in contact with separatist and extremist groups from Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur, wanted to emulate stone-pelting protests akin to Kashmir in other parts of India including urban areas and conducting meetings abroad with other groups in a bid to organise funds.
Citing that conclusive evidence was collected which establishes their links with Maoists before making the arrests, he mentioned a letter speaking of a "Rajiv Gandhi-type incident" to end the Modi Raj, and need for Rs 8 crore to procure a rocket launcher and 400,000 rounds, among other things.
On August 29, Pune's Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Shirish Sardeshpande had said that the banned CPI (Maoist) was engaged in raising funds to incite civil unrest against the administration.
"They have shown intolerance to the present political system, and decided to target organisations and their officials and even the highest political functionaries," Sardesphande said in the first official comments on the August 28 swoop.
The arrests were made on a complaint lodged with Vishramgarh Police in Pune on January 8 on the December 31 Elgar Parishad, organised by the Kabir Kala Manch where allegedly inciting speeches were delivered.
The following day (January 1), Koregaon-Bhima witnessed huge protests and caste riots in which one person was killed, followed by a Maharashtra shutdown on January 3, called by the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh.
Singh said that despite the 'propaganda' to discredit the police probe, the investigators have a very strong case and all the arrests were videographed.