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‘Two arrested activists are CPI Maoist cadres’

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Pune Police tells HC that Ferreira, Gonsalves recruit members for banned outfit

The Pune Police told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that activists Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves, accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, are senior cadres of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Justice P.N. Deshmukh was hearing the bail applications of Mr. Ferreira and Mr. Gonsalves. They stated in their pleas that they were falsely implicated in the case and added as accused despite not being named in the FIR. They said that they were neither present at the Elgar Parishad nor involved in organising the event.

Additional public prosecutor Aruna Kamat Pai said an affidavit had been filed in Mr. Ferreira’s bail plea and sought time to file an affidavit in Mr. Gonsalves’s plea.

The affidavit, filed by the investigating officer Dr. Shivaji Pawar, said, “There is prima facie material against Mr. Ferreira. Therefore the bail application should be rejected.” It mentions the FIR filed on January 8, 2018, and the searches conducted at the residences of activists Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut.

The affidavit says, “These persons were clearly found to be a part of the criminal conspiracy and their role was not merely peripheral. They are found to be playing a vital role in the criminal offences committed and also in conspiracy of an offence. Based on the incriminating material, Varavara Rao, Mr. Gonsalves, Mr. Ferreira, Sudha Bhardwaj and Gautam Navlakha were also arrested on August 28, 2018.”

A letter, reproduced in the affidavit, mentioned, “Last year, in July and August, the higher committee provided two rounds of funds to Comrade Sudhir for tasks. Comrade Sudha and Comrade Surendra are authorised to provide funds for future programmes. The Bhima-Koregaon agitation has been effective. The unfortunate death of youth must be exploited to prepare future agitations and propaganda material.”

A letter states that directions were given to Mr. Ferreira to establish the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) in Kerala. It said, “According to the directions of CPI (Maoist), comrade Surendra went to Kerala. From the call data records of Mr. Ferreira’s mobile number, it is found he was in Kerala from December 9 to 10, 2017. It has been mentioned that Mr. Gadling will go to Kolkata on November 16, 2018, to meet underground comrades regarding issues of IAPL and Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee. The party funds were received by Mr. Ferreira and other accused from the CPI(Maoist)’s central committee.”

The letter written by Mr. Gadling to one comrade Prakash says Mr. Ferreira received ₹2 lakh from comrade Darsu, the senior cadre of CPI (Maoist). It says Mr. Ferreira is engaging with student unions on a regular basis and has come up with creative initiatives to propagate the agenda of the CPI (Maoist).”

The affidavit said, “Mr. Gonsalves and Mr. Ferreira are members of the Radical Study Circle group and are engaged in recruiting cadres for the CPI (Maoist). It is revealed that IAPL, PPSC, Committee for Release of Political Prisoners, Anuradha Ghandy Memorial Committee are frontal organisations of CPI (Maoist) and Mr. Ferreira is the treasurer of IAPL.”

The court will hear both the applications on April 5.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 12:11:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/two-arrested-activists-are-cpi-maoist-cadres/article26525914.ece

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