PUNE: As the Pune Police, investigating the Maoist link to the Koregaon-Bhima caste riots, is stumbling upon letters that point to plans to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, more startling facts about how the entire conspiracy was hatched has now come to fore.
According to the FIR filed by the Pune Police - the copy of which was accessed by Zee Media - Dalit leader and now MLA in Gujarat Jignesh Mevani and controversial JNU student Umar Khalid had attended the “Elgar Parishad” - an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon at Shaniwar Wada in the city on December 31.
The two were later booked for promoting enmity between two groups and instigating violence. In the FIR, the two were accused of making a provocative speech, in which they said, “We can make this battle of Bhima Koregaon as a future. They attacked first, the time is to retaliate.”
Both were charged under Section 153(a), 505 and 177 of Indian Penal Code.
The FIR was lodged based on a complaint filed by Akshay Gautam Bikkad at Deccan Gymkhana Police Station, which was later transferred to Vishrambaug Police Station.
During the course of its investigation, the Vishrambaug Police found that a man identified as Sudhir Dhavle, associated with the 'Kabir Kala Manch', was also invited as a special guest to the ''Elgar Parishad”.
Dhavle, who was later found to be having strong links with the Maoists, had given a very provocative speech at the ''Elgar Parishad”. After further investigation, the police found that Dhavle had recited a controversial poem on the occasion to incite the Dalits for a 'rebellion against years of their suppression by the upper caste'.
Here are the excerpts of the poem:
"जब जुल्म हो तो बगावत होनी चाहिए शहर में...
जब जुल्म हो तो बगावत होनी चाहिए शहर में...
अगर बगावत ना हो तो बेहतर हो कि रात ढलने से पहले ही शहर जल कर राख हो जाए ।
ये जो सत्र है ये सत्र की टाइटल ही अपने आप में लड़ाई का ऐलान है ।
ये नई पेशवाई को हमको शमशान घाट में कब्रिस्तान में दफनाना है ।"
Having obtained various actionable inputs, the Pune Police filed an FIR on January 8, 2018 in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence and began its probe on January 24. Dhavle was also made one of the accused in the case.
As the investigation progressed, the police found that Dhavle was highly influenced with the Naxal ideology and was contacted by two active members of the CPI-M Maoists - JNU PhD scholar Rona Jacob Wilson and lawyer Surendra Gadling of Nagpur - for organising the ''Elgar Parishad.''
A background check by the Pune Police confirmed that both Wilson and Gadling were involved in Naxal-related activities. They were also found to be linked to the Naxalites arrested in connection with violence in Gadchiroli last year.
After studying the chargesheet and the court order, the Pune Police also added Section 120 B of the IPC to its previously filed FIR in the Bhima-Koregaon case on March 6, 2018. Section 120 B of the IPC deals with punishment of criminal conspiracy.
On April 17, the Pune Police constituted six teams and conducted multiple raids in Delhi, Mumbai and Nagpur besides Pune in connection with its ongoing probe into the Bhima-Koregaon caste riots.
Residences of Wilson, Gadling, Harshali Poddar – a Naxal sympathiser – and many other accused were raided by the Pune Police. During the raids, several electronic storage devices, CDs and several objectionable documents linked to the Naxals were also recovered. The electronic storage device was then sent to Pune's Forensic Laboratory for a detailed analysis.
A mirror-image of the device was obtained and its print-out was taken. It was only after examining the content of the device the Pune Police came to know about the Naxals' Rajiv Gandhi-style assassination plot to eliminate PM Narendra Modi.
Based on its findings, the Pune Police later arrested five people in this connection.
However, the authorities are still trying to trace other accused, including Milind Teltumbade, a close relative of Prakash Ambedkar, who Chairperson of a political outfit called Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh and has been a vocal supporter of Naxals, Comrade Naveen alias Prakash, Comrade Manglu and Comrade Deepu.
All five accused - Rona Jacob Wilson, Sudhir Dhavle, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and Surendra Gadling – arrested by Pune Police were on Thursday produced before a local court which remanded them to police custody till June 14.