Varavara in police custody till Nov 26

Mubarak Ansari
Monday, 19 November 2018

A team led by ACP Shivaji Pawar had arrested Rao on Saturday from his house in Hyderabad after his house arrest ended. 

PUNE: A special court on Sunday remanded revolutionary writer and Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao (78) in police custody till November 26 in connection with Maoist links to Elgar Parishad. 

A team led by ACP Shivaji Pawar had arrested Rao on Saturday from his house in Hyderabad after his house arrest ended. 

Rao was produced in the court of Special Judge Kishore Vadane in Shivajinagar on Sunday afternoon. 

The police claimed they have intercepted an email communication between Rao and top CPI(M) fugitive leader Ganapathy in which the latter, while expressing concern after the first five arrests, asked Rao how the letters were leaked. 

While demanding his 14-days police custody, District Government Pleader Ujjwala Pawar submitted that Rao has a nexus with top fugitive CPI(M) operatives and was actively involved in procurement of arms and ammunition from Nepal and Manipur, recruitment of students and funding of Maoist activities.

“This is not an ordinary case. The conspiracy was not limited to Elgar Parishad but to a larger one against the State and Central governments. This is a case where the integrity and unity of the country are in danger and that is why sedition, waging or attempting to wage war charges have been added in the charge sheet,” she told the court. 

“The police wants to investigate Rao’s role in mobilising Dalits through Elgar Parishad and incite them against the government. It also has to be investigated how the accused were trying to ensure the Koregaon-Bhima violence issue kept burning,” she told the court. 

Pawar said that in the seized letters, there is use of code words which has to be investigated. Elgar Parishad was organised as a part of Maoist conspiracy. 

Defence lawyer Rohan Nahar said the police did not follow proper procedure and claimed that Rao, who was already arrested on August 28, cannot be re-arrested. 

“His custodial interrogation is not required. If the police have already deciphered the code language in the letter, then why they need his custody. Why the role of two former judges not investigated in the case as they were part of the Elgar Parishad. The police earlier arrested Samasta Hindu Aghadi president Milind Ekbote in the Koregaon-Bhima violence case and then suddenly connected the violence with Elgar Parishad and Maoists,” Nahar argued. 

As per the remand report, Maoists also have links with Kashmiri separatists. Also, in December 2017, there was an attack in Gadchiroli on the directions of Adv Surendra Gadling. Rao has been providing funds for such attacks. His role in terrorist activities in Usur, Pamed and Bheji has also been revealed. Both Varavara Rao and Gadling played a key role in making funds available for the banned CPI(M) and also made available funds for expenditure for their comrades in the jungle. They also provided information about security forces to the underground organisations like People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA).

The prosecution on Sunday told the court that charges related to “sedition and waging war against the state” have been added against all the accused arrested for Maoist links in connection with the Elgar Parishad. 

According to sources, Pune police will question senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh as his phone number was mentioned in one of the letters seized by Pune police from alleged Maoists sympathisers in the Elgar Parishad case.

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