Bhima Koregaon case: ‘Arrested activists members of banned CPI (Maoist)’

Bhima Koregaon case: ‘Arrested activists members of banned CPI (Maoist)’
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Indian poet and activist Varara Rao (C) enters a police vehicle after being arrested in Hyderabad on August 28, 2018. Indian police arrested prominent lawyers and left-wing activists on August 28 for alleged links to Maoist rebels, drawing a rebuke from rights watchdogs who labelled the raids a "massive crackdown" on government critics. / AFP PHOTO / -

Pune: “Varun Gosalves, Arun Ferreira and Varavara Rao are active members of banned organization, Communist Party of India (Maoist) [CPI (Maoist)]”, prosecutor told Pune session court while seeking the remand of the three accused activists arrested on Tuesday.

Pune police on Tuesday had conducted raids in different parts of the country and arrested five accused activists in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case, three of which were produced before Pune sessions court on Wednesday.

Vernon Gosalves was arrested from Mumbai, Arun Ferreira from Thane, whereas Varavara Rao was arrested from Hyderabad.

Seeking their 14-day remand, the public prosecutor informed the court that the accused were involved in the crime, adding that several documents were seized during the search operation from their houses. The court was also informed that electronic devices, seized from the accused, need to be investigated.

The grounds, on which Pune police sought their remand, included, “Code languages were used in some seized letters, which need investigation and their funding sources also require checking.”
The court was also informed that the raids were video recorded.

The prosecution further claimed, “In order to overthrow the Central Government, the accused have together formed an ‘anti-fascist’ – the All India United Front.”

Speaking about their involvement in the violence, it was told that Ferreira had an alleged role in recruiting the students and sending them to jungle area for training. It was also claimed that Varavara Rao had an authority to purchase the weapons from Nepal and Manipur.

Defence lawyer contested that Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) was wrongly put on accused, since no weapons were used and other criteria of UAPA were also not met.

The defence counsel said, “From the past four months the authorities have been probing the case. We have cooperated with the police in their search operations”.

“If the seized evidence is being sent to Forensic Lab (FSL), then what is the need of police interrogation and what is the need for custody?” the defence counsel argued.

The sessions court judge reiterated the decision of the Supreme Court to keep all arrested accused, including Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and VV Rao under house arrest till September 5.