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Pune court remands Varavara Rao in police custody till Nov 26

Telugu poet Varavara Rao- PTIPune : Telugu poet Varavara Rao, accused of having Maoist links, was Sunday remanded in police custody till November 26.

Rao was taken into custody in Hyderabad on Saturday after his house arrest ended on November 15 and his petition to quash the transit remand was disposed of by a court there on November 16.

He was brought to Pune on Sunday morning and was produced before District and Sessions judge Kishor D Vadane, who remanded him in police custody till November 26.

District government pleader Ujjwala Pawar, while seeking police custody of 14 days, told the court that Rao had a nexus with top fugitive CPI (Maoist) operatives and was actively involved in the procurement of arms and ammunition, recruitment of students and funding of Maoist activities.

Rao, along with four other activists, was arrested on August 28 after the Pune Police conducted raids at various places in the country in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence case.

Police alleged that these activists had links with the Maoists, who backed Elgar Parishad event held in Pune on December 31 last year.

The Parishad, police alleged, led to the violence at the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in Pune district the next day.

The prosecution Sunday told court that charges related to “sedition and waging war against the state” have been added against all the accused arrested for Maoist links in connection with the Elgar Parishad.

Government district pleader Ujjwala Pawar told court that Rao was directly involved in various Maoist activities right from “smuggling” arms and ammunition from Nepal and Manipur as well as recruiting students for Naxal activities and aiding the “urban Naxal movement”.

“This is not an ordinary case. This is a case where the integrity and unity of the country is in danger and that is why Section 124 (A) (sedition), 121 (waging or attempting to wage war ) and 121 (A) (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have been added in the chargesheet,” she told court.

She also said the conspiracy was not limited to the Elgar Parishad but to a larger one against the state and Central governments.

Pawar, while arguing before the court, reiterated that police have intercepted an email communication between Rao and top CPI (Maoist) fugitive leader Ganapathy in which the latter, while expressing concern after the first five arrests, had asked Rao how the letters were leaked.

She sought police custody while citing that police, who have seized several “incriminating” documents, wants to interrogate Rao.

She also said the whereabouts of Ganapathy needs to be investigated and for that Rao’s custody is important.

“Police wants to investigate Rao’s role in mobilising Dalits through the Elgar Parishad and incite them against the government. It also has to be investigated how the accused were trying to ensure the Bhima Koregaon caste violence issue kept burning,” she told court.

Pawar added that in the seized letters, there is ample use of code words which had to be investigated.

While arguing before the court, defence lawyer Rohan Nahar said police did not follow proper procedures, and claimed that Rao, who was already arrested on August 28, cannot be re-arrested again.

Pawar refuted this and said procedures were followed properly while taking Rao into police custody after house arrest.

PTI

18/11/2018

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