Pune: It was around 3 pm on Wednesday afternoon and the court of Special Judge AS Bhaisare on the third floor of Pune district court in Shivajinagar, was jam packed with reporters, lawyers and policemen to witness the hearing of Elgar Parishad case.
The special judge was in the court by 3 pm but had to wait for the team of prosecution and investigating officer who arrived in the court 35 minutes later.
The three accused Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira (accused no 16, 17 and 18) with were overlooking from the wooden dock at the left side of the courtroom.
The three along with human rights lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj and activist Gautam Navlakha were arrested on Tuesday from Hyderabad, Mumbai, Thane, Faridabad and Delhi.
The court proceedings initiated with the argument of District Government Pleader Ujjawala Pawar who started her argument with the mention of the FIR filed by Tushar Damgude on January 8, 2018 at Vishrambag police station.
She said, “After the complaint was filed, the Pune police carried out an investigation and the names of the present accused along with others who were previously arrested in June surfaced in it for hatching a conspiracy to spread the ideology of banned outfit CPI (Maoist) and over throw the government.”
“These accused were indulging in recruiting people to join CPI (Maoist) and to express the rebellious ideas against the government. They are involved in waging a war against government,” Pawar argued.
She said, “The five people who were arrested on Tuesday were top leaders and the five who were arrested in June were at the second level in hatching the conspiracy to form an anti-fascist front and they tried to establish the anti-fascist front in Maharashtra through Elgar Parishad.”
Pawar then produced more than half a dozen of letters in the court stating of the communication between all those arrested by Pune police including the letters from Comrade M and Comrade R whose authenticity was questioned in media reports.
She first produced the letter with the heading of ERB (Eastern Regional Bureau) meeting which was held between December 21-24, 2015. The letter was allegedly recovered from the laptop and other material seized from lawyer Surendra Gadling. She said, “The letter mentions about the operation of Modi regime against the CPI (Maoist) and how the government is targeting the revolutionaries by launching the third stage of Operation Green Hunt. Resolutions have been passed in the ERB to tackle the situation.”
Pawar also produced letter allegedly exchanged between Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira and others including a letter written by Varavara Rao in Hindi.
The letters produced in court alleged Rao of the final authority to bring the arms consignment mentioned in a letter allegedly written by Rona Wilson to comrade Prakash. The letters also states about the desire made by the General Secretary of CPI (Maoist) Mupalla Laxman Rao Ganpati to meet Varavara Rao and praising about the work of Varavara Rao and Arun Ferriera in Western zone.
She argued that the accused persons are involved in recruiting students, funding events to spread rebellious thoughts, dealing in weapons to wage a war against government. “The main purpose of the Elgar Parishad was to spread the rebellion thoughts of CPI (Maoists) in Maharashtra.”
While speaking to Sakal Times, defence lawyer Rohan Nahar said, “The arguments made by the DGP has nothing to do with questions before the court. The case in hand is nothing to do with the evidences tried to be produced. The question in hand is about the Elgar Parishad in Pune which led to Koregaon Bhima riots because of some inciting speeches made on the stage. The entire FIR is related to this but it just jumps from there to the opinion of first informant about the role of CPI (Maoist).”
“Who is first informant to opine about any institute, there is media which says that the first informant is connected to Sambhaji Bhide and he has instigated him to lodge a complaint so that focus will shift from him to CPI (Maoist),” added Nahar
Nahar said, “The letters flashed by DGP in court which alleged of assassination plot, arms consignment, and communication exchanges is utterly nonsense. These letters doesn’t have to do with the crime in question and these are two different cases. One of the letters which is written by Varavara Rao in Hindi but the fact is that he hardly can speak in Hindi. In one of the letters, he is placed next to the top cadre of CPI (Maoist) of India and it is difficult to belive that a person will put his own initials openly in such letters. It is totally absurd and impossible as these people communicate in secret manner. There is a serious question regarding the authenticity of these letters.”
What police say
DCP (Crime) Shirish Sardeshpande, accompanied by Jt CP (Law and Order) Shivaji Bodkhe addressed media persons at the police commissioner’s office in Camp around 5.30 pm. The police claimed that they have unearthed ‘Maoist conspiracy hatched to overthrow the elected government’. “The investigations lead to highly incriminating evidence like letters, minutes, resolution of meeting,” DCP Sardeshpande said.
“And other elaborate communication between members of banned CPI Maoist party and the arrested accused. The evidence points towards the involvement of Kabir Kala Manch in mobilisations of funds provided by banned outfits CPI (Maoist) in inciting the masses against the administration long before Elgar Parishad was held. The analysis of the seized documents, electronic devices clearly reveals the conspiracy hatched by the banned CPI (Maoist) orgnisation. They formed All India United front as a strategy of CPI (Maoist) that is anti-fascist front which is according to resolution of the Eastern Regional Bureau (their underground front) in order to overthrow the government established by law,” DCP Sardeshpande said. Talking about role of the arrested activists, DCP Sardeshpande read the written statement, “In pursuance to this conspiracy, they wanted to establish fronts in Maharashtra also and Elgar Parishad was organised on December 31. Evidence point to major role played by Rao, Navlakha, Bhardwaj, Ferreira and Gonsalves. In the larger conspiracy hatched by the banned CPI (Maoist) organisation, evidence also revealed of providing funds for radicalising youths, students for Urban Naxalism, violence leading to killing of security personnel, innocent civilians. They also planned to eliminate highest political functionary...we have seized laptops, pen drives, letters, mobile phones from their possession.”