The Maharashtra police on Friday told the media that the recent arrests of the five human rights activists from across India were made only after the police got ‘clear evidence’ against them. Addressing the media, Additional Director General (Law and Order) Param Bir Singh stated that an email letter written by Rona Wilson to a comrade Prakash had been accessed, which spoke of the “requirement of Rs 8 crore for the annual supply of grenade launchers.” The letter also speaks of “steps to end Modi-raj with a Rajiv Gandhi-like incident,” stated PB Singh.
“After an investigation of the evidence seized during the raids on these activists, it was found that there was a CPI (Maoist) conspiracy to establish an all-India front against the government, to create a situation of chaos, disrupt law and order, and then overthrow the government,” said PB Singh.
After two months, seven more names, including those of the five activists detained recently, were added to the original complaint filed with the Pune police, he added.
“After the investigation, we realised that there was a larger conspiracy that involved Maoist organisations and the organisations were taking the help of these activists,” PB Singh told the media. He spoke of “incriminating evidence” that established a "clear link" between the detained activists and Maoist organisations.
On August 29, the Pune police conducted raids across the country and arrested five activists – Varavara Rao from Hyderabad, Gautam Navlakha from Delhi, Sudha Bharadwaj from Haryana and Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves from Maharashtra.
However, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed that the five human rights activists should be kept under house arrest, observing, “Dissent is a safety valve of democracy. If it is not allowed, the pressure cooker will burst.”
The activists were arrested in connection with an alleged letter that mentioned an assassination plot, which was recovered from the residence of one of the activists.
It also referred to the requirement of Rs 8 crore to purchase an M-4 rifle and four lakh rounds to execute the plot. The letter reportedly mentioned Varavara Rao's name as the one who will arrange the funds.
A similar action was taken by the police earlier this year on April 17 when they arrested a dozen Dalit activists and those involved with the Kabir Kala Manch, which organised an Elgar Conference in Pune on December 31, 2017.
On January 1, caste riots that erupted in Koregaon-Bhima left one person dead, culminating in a Maharashtra shutdown on January 3 called by the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, headed by Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of BR Ambedkar.