Days after Pune police arrested five people with alleged Maoist links in connection connection with January’s Bhima-Koregaon violence, the law enforcement agency has claimed before a court that among the seized documents, a letter has been recovered that mentions “another Rajiv Gandhi incident”.
Former Prime Minister Gandhi was killed by a LTTE suicide bomber during his campaign for the May 1991 Lok Sabha elections in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
The letter was recovered from the Delhi house of one of the five accused, Rona Wilson, that talks of requirement of Rs 8 crore to procure M-4 rifle and four-lakh rounds, and also about “another Rajiv Gandhi incident”, district government pleader Ujjwala Pawar told the court.
“We are thinking along the lines of another Rajiv Gandhi incident. It sounds suicidal and there is a chance that we might fail but party must deliberate on our proposal,” Pawar quoted the letter.
On Wednesday, police arrested Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale, lawyer Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson from Mumbai, Nagpur and Delhi in connection with ‘Elgar Parishad’ held in held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, and the subsequent Bhima-Koregaon violence in the district. All five were produced before the sessions court which remanded them in police custody till June 14.
Seeking their remand, Pawar told judge AS Bhailsare, that documents seized also showed that preparation for the Elgar Parishad — which police believe was backed and funded by the Maoists — was going on for two months.
Quoting another letter allegedly seized from Wilson’s house, Pawar said, “The higher committee has appreciated the endearing efforts of all urban comrades for the specific tasks given to them… there is a lot of ground to be covered. Comrade Mangalu and Deepu have been coordinating the Koregaon programme (for) last two months with Comrade Sudhir.
“They have been able to gather support from the larger sections of Dalits across the state,” Pawar quoted the letter.
Evidence also showed that funds were provided by the CPI (Maoist) to “comrade Sudhir” for Koregaon Bhima “task” and “Comrade Shoma and Surendra” were authorised to provide funds for future programmes, the prosecutor said.
In one of the letters from one Prakash to Wilson, it is stated that the Bhima Koregaon agitation was losing its steam, and cadres should keep it alive, Pawar said.
Investigation also revealed that senior Maoist leaders were asking lower-rung cadres to target and recruit “intelligent” students from “renowned” institutes, she said.
The lawyers of the accused said the documents cited by the prosecution were fabricated, and the accused have been framed up.
One of the defence lawyers pointed out that while police invoked the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against the five accused, the stringent law was not applied against right-wing activists Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, who are accused of inciting anti-Dalit violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1.
While talking to media, Joint Commissioner of Police Ravindra Kadam said that a letter allegedly seized from Wilson’s house had been sent by fugitive Maoist leader Milind Teltumbde.
When asked if it refers to the Congress and Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar (as alleged by a BJP leader today), he said, “The letter has their references, but we are still investigating the details.”
Documents seized from Gadling’s house in Nagpur show his indirect connection to recent Maoist attacks in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and in Chhattisgarh, Kadam said.
Dhawale was one of the organisers of Elgar Parishad Shaniwarwada in Pune, organised to commemorate 200 years of the Koregaon Bhima battle, on December 31.
Police had earlier claimed that Kabir Kala Manch activists made provocative speeches at the gathering, leading to violence at Bhima Koregaon the next day.
Police on Thursday also said that Teltumbde, comrade Prakash, comrade Manglu and comrade Deepu have been added as absconding accused in the present case.
Dalits commemorate the 1818 battle of Bhima Koregaon where British forces, mostly consisting of Mahar soldiers (who were Dalits), defeated the forces of Peshwa, ending the Maratha rule. Some Hindu organisations had opposed the celebration this year.
(with agency inputs)