Jawaharlal Nehru University.(File photo)
The CPI-Maoist was planning to organise a lecture series at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in memory of Naveen Babu, a Maoist leader and JNU alumnus, Pune City Police told a city court on Thursday. Babu was killed in police action in Andhra Pradesh in February 2000.
The police made the statement while producing four of the five accused arrested in connection with the case over Elgaar Parishad. They also submitted documents in Shivajinagar court that allegedly revealed plans of the banned CPI-Maoist to organise the lecture series at JNU and supply some material for the programme.
On June 6, Pune City Police had arrested Rona Wilson, an activist of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) and JNU alumnus, from Delhi, activist Sudhir Dhawale of Republican Panthers Jati Antachi Chalwal (RP) from Mumbai, lawyer Surendra Gadling of Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen and former Prime Minister Rural Development (PMRD) Fellow Mahesh Raut from Nagpur, in connection with a case pertaining to the Elgaar Parishad, a conference held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31. The police had also said that those arrested were “urban Maoist operatives”.
The complaint alleges that “provocative speeches” at the conference had led to violence in Koregaon Bhima on January 1, which led to the death of a 30-year-old man and left hundreds injured. All the five accused have been booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. They had been remanded in police custody till June 14.
Later, Gadling was admitted to a hospital after he complained of cardiac problems. He was remanded to judicial custody and lodged in Yerwada Jail. The four other accused were produced before court on Thursday by a police team led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Shivaji Pawar.
Seeking an extension in their police custody for 14 days, district government pleader Ujjwala Pawar told the court that data worth 25,000 GB had been recovered from the five accused during searches conducted at their residences. “Cloned copies of the recovered data have been obtained from the forensic department and they are being investigated,” she said.
Pawar also submitted some documents before the court and said there was a proposal to organise a lecture series in JNU in the memory of Naveen Babu. The planned JNU lecture series was aimed at “enticing and motivating” students to join the banned outfit, said Pawar.
“All accused have links with the banned CPI-Maoist and investigation regarding their preparations, in execution and implementation of anti-national activities, is at a very crucial stage… Letters investigated by the police show funds were also provided to implement rashtravirodhi (anti-national) activities. Cash amount of Rs 80,000 has been seized from accused Rona…,” she said.
The prosecution, however, made no mention of the alleged Maoist conspiracy to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The police, in its remand report, also mentioned that custodial interrogation of the accused was needed to probe a “larger conspiracy” of the banned CPI-Maoist in organising and supplying funds to the Elgaar Parishad and the Koregaon Bhima Shaurya Prernadin Abhiyan.
Defence lawyers, meanwhile, argued that the JNU has nothing to do with the offence related to Elgaar Parishad and Koregaon Bhima, and a separate offence can be registered to investigate it.
The defence also argued that two retired judges were the main conveners of the Elgaar Parishad and the police had nothing to show the involvement of the accused in the Koregaon Bhima violence that took place the next day.