New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that the five activists, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bhardwaj and Gautam Navlakha, which were arrested for their suspected links to Maoists, by kept under house arrest till September 6, observing that dissent was the “safety valve” of democracy. Also Read - Amid Lockdown, Supreme Court Grants Rs 4 Lakh to Woman Rendered Homeless
During the arguments in the court, public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar claimed that the accused were planning to “wage a war” against the country and were involved in procuring arms, funding Naxal activities and recruiting students from reputed educational institutes. Also Read - Maharashtra Police Nabs 2 Container Trucks Carrying 300 Migrant Workers Back Home
Prosecutor Pawar said that Rao, Gonsalves and Ferreira were active members of the banned CPI (Maoists), and submitted some letters, seized earlier, that mention the three men. Also Read - COVID-19: As Country Goes Into Lockdown Mode, SC to Conduct Hearings Via Video Conferencing
Citing one of the letters, Pawar said Rao raised funds for the Naxals and was also involved in procuring arms.
One of the seized letters showed that Rao was the only authorised person to speak to Maoist activists in Manipur and Nepal to facilitate import of weapons, she said.
Another letter said that Maoists were facing heavy casualties, and Rao and Surendra Gadling (arrested in June) pressed for inflicting heavy damage on the security forces as a revenge, she said.
“One of the letters which has a mention of Ferreira states the need of recruiting ‘professional revolutionaries’ and for that these accused were targeting reputed institutes like Tata Institute of Social Science and other,” she said.
“The anti-fascist front floated by CPI (Maoists) is trying to spread its wings in different parts of the country to incite people to revolt against the present government.
“The Elgar Parishad held in Pune on December 31 was organised …To mobilise the Dalit community against the government,” Pawar contended.
The seized letters also showed connection of the Maoists with other banned organisations including some operating in Jammu and Kashmir, she said.
Earlier, Pune Police had claimed that they have collected “highly incriminating evidence” that establishes a link between the banned CPI(Maoist) and the five arrested activists.
DCP (Crime) Shirish Sardeshpande said that the evidences established the involvement of Kabali Kala Manch, a left-leaning cultural organisation, and the activists.
Sardeshpande said that the leaders of CPI(M) had provided funds to KKM and the activists, adding that there was an elaborate communication between them through e-mails and letters.
“During a meeting, some important decisions were taken which we consider as incriminating evidence,” he said.
The activists were arrested on Tuesday during pan India raids which were carried out as part of a probe into the violence between Dalits and the upper caste Peshwas at Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune after an event called Elgar Parishad, or conclave, on December 31 last year.
Security officials said two letters recovered over the past few months, indicating Maoist plans to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, were also a reason for the raids.