Elgaar Parishad case: Police says ‘activists’ were in touch with Maoists, talked of routing funds through Hawala

The Pune police who have evidence to prove that Gadling was in Delhi in April 2017, when the meeting is suspected to have taken place, alleged that the letter stated that Surendra had "informed the central committee member that funds had been made available to cadres through hawala".

The Pune police on Friday informed a special court in Pune that the activists arrested in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case were in touch with Central Committee members of the banned CPI-Maoist, and they had discussed routing funds for Maoist activities through hawala transactions.

District Government Pleader, Ujjwala Pawar, while opposing the bail applications filed by the accused, told Special Judge K D Wadne that a letter, ‘seized from the accused’, mentions that another accused Surendra (Gadling) met with a Central Committee member of the CPI-Maoist.

The Pune police who have evidence to prove that Gadling was in Delhi in April 2017, when the meeting is suspected to have taken place, alleged that the letter stated that Surendra had “informed the central committee member that funds had been made available to cadres through hawala”.

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Pawar further claimed in the court that the accused in the Elgaar Parishad case were involved in the recruitment of ‘PR'(professional revolutionaries), for CPI-Maoist.

She also read out a purported letter between Gadling and accused P Varavara Rao, one of the five activists arrested by Pune police on August 28 as part of the major crackdown on ‘Urban Naxals’, in connection with a case filed over Elgaar Parishad, a one-day conference held in Pune on December 31, 2017, to mark the 200th year of the ‘Battle of Bhima Koregaon’, allegedly mentioning details of Maoist funds and incidents such as the burning of several vehicles in Surjagad in Gadhchiroli.

The five activists, namely Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and Sudha Bharadwaj, were charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). They were later put under house arrest by the Supreme Court.

Police had earlier arrested activist Rona Wilson from Delhi, former Prime Minister Rural Development fellow Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale from Mumbai, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen and Gadling on June 6 in connection with the same case.

During the hearing, Pawar further alleged that the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), whose vice-president was one of the five accused, Sudha Bharadwaj and CRPP (Committee of Release of Political Prisoners), whose secretary was accused Rona Wilson, were front organisation of the CPI-Maoists and was funded by the banned outfit.

While submitting more letters as proof alledging IAPL members worked as a “courier” for the Maoist group through Gadling, she also submitted photographs of Ganapathy, general secretary of CPI-Maoist, and Deepak alias Milind Teltumbde, Central Committee members of the party, before the court. She claimed, “Milind Teltumbde’s photograph has been recovered from the laptop of Rona Wilson”.

She further claimed that Milind Teltumbde was mentioned as ‘Comrade M’ in the letters, and read out a letter allegedly sent to Rona Wilson by ‘Comrade M’, dated January 2, 2018, a day after the Koregaon Bhima violence.

While opposing the bail application, Pawar claimed that there was enough proof that had “unearthed” the conspiracy by CPI-Maoist to create law and order problems, and that the bail applications filed by the accused in Pune were a replica of the petitions that had been filed before the Supreme Court earlier, which the Supreme Court had already rejected.

She furthered that since “the purpose of the Elgaar Parishad case is to probe the conspiracy and activities of banned CPI-Maoists”. And that “there is prima-facie evidence against the accused that they are active members of CPI-Maoist, what other evidence is required to reject the bail?”

The arguments by the prosecution would continue during the next hearing.

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