Supplementary chargesheet in Bhima Koregaon case has nothing on violence
In the supplementary chargesheet filed by the Pune police on the Bhima Koregaon violence case, the state has once again failed to establish that the arrested activists were involved in the violence. The chargesheet mostly relies on statements by the three surrendered naxals trying to link the activists with Maoist activities.
In the over 1,800 pages chargesheet filed on February 21 in Pune court, one volume is about the forensic report receipts of the seized electronic devices from the activists and the statements, the second volume is about communication related to the investigation and the information about the two students. The third volume is about call logs and communication with the forensic laboratory and the fourth volume about Call Data Records (CDR) trying to establish that the arrested activists were in touch with each other. The fifth volume is on Maoist literature.
The earlier 5,000-page chargesheet was mostly against activist Rona Wilson, lawyer Surendra Gadling, Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale, tribal rights activist Mahesh Raut and Professor Soma Sen. The fresh chargesheet alleges Varavara Rao, Arun Feirra, Vernom Gonsalves, Sudha Bhardwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbade and the first five activists as well.
Among the three surrendered naxals, one of them is Kumarsay alias Ashok alis Ram Mohammed Singh Toppo alise Pahadsingh Wald Jangleshwar Singh Katlam (48). He is a farmer from Chhattisgarh. He is known as Pahadsingh in the chargesheet and his first statement was attached with the earlier 5,000 page chargesheet submitted to the court. In the supplementary statement, Pahadsingh said “I was told that Comrade Varvara Rao was a big leader of our party and he works in the urban as well as jungle areas. He has been leading the party from Hyderabad.”
Pahadsingh further stated “Maoist leader Arun Ferreira intrudes into the students’ organisations, prepares cadres and sends them in the jungle. I have not seen Vernon Gonsalves but he gathers support to the party from among the intellectual class.” On the other activists, he added, “Sudhir Dhawale is known for revolutionary writings on Dalits. Rona Wilson is gathering intellectual class to support the party. Gautam Navlakha works for the party through Janwadi Front Organisation and he is a Janwadi writer. Anand Teltumbade has been trying to connect Dalit movement with the Maoist movement. Soma Sen is working with intellectual class highlighting women and students’ issues.”
In his first statement, Pahadsingh had alleged that during the demonetisation period, the currency of about Rs 2.5 crore was sent to advocate Surendra Gadling for exchange. He had even said that Arun Ferreira was entrusted with the responsibility of running a campaign of Khairlanji in the past.
Another surrendered Maoist, Sudarshan Ramteke alias Makbool alias Harsh alias Atul (30), from Nagpur got in touch with the alleged Maoist movement in 2004. Ramteke said that he was introduced to Arun Ferreira who asked him to go underground and later, asked to work with Deshbhakti Yuva Manch in Chandrapur. “After I was released from jail (2011), a lawyer from Nagpur, Surendra Gadling, called me on my mother’s mobile. He invited me home. I went there, where he told me to rejoin the Maoist organisaion,” he said. In 2016, Ramteke surrendered before the police.
The third surrendered Maoist’s name has been protected by the police. According to the statement, he was influenced by the ideology in 1986 and worked for the publicity of the party for a long time on various forums.
“I know the activists Varvara Rao, Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bhardwaj, Arun Ferreira and wife of Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya Soma Sen, who were arrested last year in connection with Bhima Koregaon case. Varvara Rao is a senior leader of the organisation working in the urban area,” he said.
The third surrendered Maoist added about meeting Vernon Gonsalves in 2002 on the border of Gadchiroli and Chhattisgarh. “Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira were the members of Maharashtra State Committee,” he said.
The volume on the seizer reports has documents of the two students from the JNU attached, like admission, marks sheets etc. One of them has passed out of the university. The Pune police have written a letter to the ViceChancellor of the JNU on January 11, 2019, requesting the documents related to the two without giving any strong reason. “During the course of the investigation, I came across few facts and which I feel are important in view of the evidence. Thus, I request you to furnish the information on the following points according to the provisions of UAPA and Criminal Procedure Code,” investigation officer Dr Shivaji Pawar said.
Another volume has the CDR of the arrested activists, indicating that they were in touch with each other. It has also mentioned Congress leader Digvijay Singh seeking details of his CDR from a telecom company. However, his links to the case are not established. The police have also searched the dump data from towers at the Bhima Koregaon violence affected areas, including Vijay Sthambh, Bhima Koregaon ST stand, Perane Phata, Vadu Budruk village, Sambhaji Maharaj Samadhi, Vadhu Budruk Phata, Phulgao for January 1, 2018 and
Shanivarwada for December 31, 2017. The conclusion of the report said, “There are 5,003 common numbers contacted among those who were present at Shanivarwada and those who went to Vijay Sthambh, Bhima Koregaon ST stand, Perane Phata, Vadu Budruk village, Sambhaji Maharaj Samadhi, Vadhu Budruk Phata, Phulgao the next day.”
The volume about literature is called as “incriminating documents found in hard disk”. It has various pamphlets of the party, press releases, party ideology, the party Constitution and other material.
Dr Shivaji Pawar, Assistant Police Commissioner, Swargate Division, Pune, who is investigating the case, refused to comment on the charhesheet.
Advocate Susan Abraham, who is representing the first five activists arrested, termed the chargesheet as “false”
and “fabricated.” “There is nothing in the chargesheet. These people were carrying out normal legitimate activities. There was nothing in their acts that can be called as incriminating. There was no action by them that can attract draconian UAPA law or sedition. The Elgar Parishad was the focus of the chargesheet. Instead of taking action against the perpetrators (of Bhima Koregaon riots), the police have made a totally false narrative.
The harsh sections against the activists are meant to incapacitate them for a long period of time,” she said.
In the first chargesheet, the Pune police had very little against the five Left-leaning activists arrested in August 2018 apart from the sensational charge made against them. The chargesheet had quoted more or less the same evidence that the Pune police had spoken of at a press conference after the arrests – an email written by a certain ‘R’ to Comrade Prakash on April 18, 2017 talking of a “Rajiv Gandhi-type” operation, and a series of speechesthat led to the violence at Bhima Koregaon.
Courtesy: By Shruti Ganapatye, Mumbai Mirror