A day after he was arrested for alleged links with Maoists, Delhi University professor GN Saibaba was sent to 14-day police custody by a court in Gadchiroli on Saturday.
The police had arrested the wheel-chair bound teacher in Delhi and brought him to Gadchiroli on Saturday morning.
Members of Democratic Students' Union hold a sitting protest outside Maharashtra Sadan against the arrest of Delhi University's Dr GN Saibaba by the Maharashtra police in New Delhi. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT photo)
Saibaba first came under police scrutiny after the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University student Hemant Mishra, who told the security agencies that he acted as a courier between the professor and Maoists holed up in the Abujhmadh forests of Bastar and Gadchiroli regions.
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The professor, who teaches English at Delhi University's Ramlal Anand College, was wanted by the Gadchiroli police in the chargesheet filed before the Aheri court in February this year under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, along with six others held in the case.
Maharashtra police had interrogated Saibaba at least four times in the past six months after the arrest of Mishra and self-proclaimed former journalist Prashant Rahi. Mishra and Rahi had been arrested from Gadchiroli and Gondia last year.
Read: DU professor arrested for alleged Maoist links
The duo told the police that they had been sent to Abujhmadh (on Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border) for a meeting in which exchange of thought, finances and some other material was expected.
The proposed meeting at Abujhmadh was aimed at strengthening CPI (Maoist) central committee's front activities.
A microchip containing a coded message was recovered from Mishra, when he was arrested in Aheri, the police said. During interrogation Mishra told cops he was asked by Rahi to deliver the coded message to CPI (Maoist) secretary general Puppalla Laxmana Rao alias Ganapathy.
Chhattisgarh deputy inspector general of police (Anti-Maoist operation) Dipanshu Kabra claimed the police have information that senior Maoist leaders, including Ganapathy, are in Abujhmadh forest region.
"He (Ganapathy) was spotted in Abujhmadh a couple of months ago," he added.
"Saibaba is the single biggest hub of communication between the central committee leadership of CPI (Maoist) and senior members of their underground urban network," says Ravindra Kadam, the IGP of Nagpur range.
Kadam said Saibaba was brought to Aheri via Nagpur early this morning and was produced before the court of judicial magistrate (First Class) Shyam Vyas.
Before producing him in a Delhi court to seek his transit remand on Friday, the Delhi professor was admitted to a local civil hospital for medical examination.
Meanwhile, Saibaba's wife GN Vasantha termed the arrest as a conspiracy between the state police and the Union government to suppress the voice of downtrodden, dalits and tribals.
"The arrest is illegal and we are taking legal advice on the issue," she said while talking to HT.
A sit-in was also organised outside Maharashtra Sadan on Kasturba Gandhi Marg in Delhi against the arrest.