New Delhi, Jun 9: Pune Police, investigating the Koregaon-Bhima caste violence, told a court on Thursday that Maoists hatched a conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a “Rajiv Gandhi-type incident” during one of his roadshows. Soon after, it was reported that Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has also received letters, allegedly from Maoist outfits, threatening him and his family.

The letter pointing at the plot to assassinate PM Modi was reportedly recovered from the home of Delhi-based activist Rona Wilson, who was among the five activists arrested from different parts of India on Wednesday as part of the probe into the riots conspiracy and “urban Maoist sympathisers”. The letter refers to a requirement of Rs 8 crore to procure M-4 rifles and 400,000 rounds and speaks of “another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident”.

A copy of the letter, released by news agency ANI, says that “Modi has successfully established BJP government in more than 15 states… if this pace continues, then it would mean immense trouble for the Maoist party on all fronts”. Accordingly, they were thinking along the lines of “another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident” by “targeting his roadshows” which they thought “could be an effective strategy”.

The latest development in case follows the arrests of Wilson, who is the secretary of Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners, advocate Surendra Gadling, General Secretary of Indian Association of Peoples’ Lawyers, Shoma Sen, Head of Department of English at Nagpur University (both from Nagpur), Mumbai journalist and ‘Vidrohi’ editor Sudhir Dhawale, and Mahesh Raut, an activist of Bharat Jan Andolan.

The arrests were made on the basis of a complaint lodged by police in Pune on January 8 after the Elgaar Parishad on December 31, organised by the Kabir Kala Manch, and later violence in Bhima-Koregaon. While Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that PM Modi’s security was the top priority of the government, opposition parties raised doubts over the Pune police’s findings and said that such stories are planted whenever PM Modi’s popularity declines.

“I am not saying this is completely untrue but it has been PM Modi’s old tactic since he was chief minister. Whenever his popularity declines, news of an assassination plot is planted. So it should be probed how much truth is in it this time,” Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said. Shivanand Tiwari, vice president of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), echoed similar views and said, “Maoist threat to PM is a planted story to garner sympathy votes as PM’s graph is declining fast.”

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, however, said it was better for the court the veracity of the alleged assassination plot. “We should wait for the court to probe the email and reveal the truth. We have several security agencies in our country. Let our ministers look into the security,” Yechuri told a media house.