Pune police claims ‘conspiracy hatched to topple government’

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Pune, Aug 29 (IANS) A day after five civil rights activists were arrested in a nationwide swoop, the Pune police claimed on Wednesday that it has unearthed a “Maoist conspiracy hatched to overthrow the elected government” besides targeting top officials and political leaders.

The alleged plot came to light after the police analysed the electronic devices, documents and other “highly incriminating evidences” seized from the five arrested persons, showing their links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), said Pune Deputy Commissioner of Police Shirish Sardeshpande.

“They have shown intolerance to the present political system, and decided to target organisations and their officials and even the highest political functionaries,” Sardesphande said.

The CPI (Maoist) was also engaged in raising funds to incite civil unrest against the administration as part of the larger conspiracy to topple the government, according to the DCP.

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He said that the outlawed organization had funded the Kabir Kala Manch’s controversial Elgar Parishad held in Pune on December 31, 2017, on the eve of the January 1 caste riots in Bhima-Koregaon.

This is the first official reaction from the Pune police justifying Tuesday’s arrests of lawyer-activist Sudhar Bharadwaj, civil liberties activists Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and P. Varavara Rao from different parts of India, triggering a massive outcry.

The conspiracy proves “the major role” of the five arrested accused, he said categorically reading out from a prepared statement, without accepting questions from the media persons this evening.

Elaborating, Sardespande said these preparations including mobilization of funds and inciting the masses, were on since long before the Elgar Parishad was held in the city’s Shanivarwada area.

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“We have scanned computer hard disks, pen drives, memory cards, resolutions of meetings, documents, emails and other elaborate communications between the members of the banned CPI (Maoist) and the five arrested accused,” he said.

The CPI (Maoist) had formed the “All India United Front (AIUF)” as per a resolution passed by its Eastern Regional Bureau (ERB) — an underground unit — and had hatched the conspiracy to topple the legally elected government.

Efforts were underway to launch a similar front (AIUF) through the Elgar Parishad, and included plans to collect funds, assign responsibilities, and acquire arms for the larger conspiracy.

Besides, the evidence also reveals plans of the “urban Naxals” to influence and radicalize the youth and students, arms training and other details, he said.

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He revealed that the Maoists have been involved in many unlawful activities leading to the killings of a large number of security forces and civilians, besides links with other like-minded organisations, which were not named.

In Tuesday’s operation, he said, a total of nine places were raided and the said five activists were arrested.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued notices to the Centre and the Maharashtra government, and directed the Pune police to keep the five accused under “house arrest” till the next date of hearing on September 6.

The directions of a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice D. Y. Chandrachud came in a public interest litigation filed by eminent historian Romila Thapar and four others challenging the arrests before the apex court.

–IANS

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