JNU student leader Umar Khalid visited Nagpur last year to receive his university colleague and suspected Left-aligning courier Hem Mishra who was then released on bail from the central jail, police said on Monday.
Mishra was arrested along with Prashant Rahi, a freelance journalist, in August 2013 in Maoist-hit Gadchiroli district over their alleged links with the Maoists. Nagpur range police claimed that Mishra was acting as a courier between Delhi University professor GN Saibaba and the underground top leaders of CPI (Maoist) including Puppalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy.
Mishra was arrested when he was on his way to Abujhmad in Bastar (Chhattisgarh) via Bhamragarh (Maharashtra) carrying some vital information for the top Maoists leaders holed up in the region.
Umar was in Nagpur in September last year to receive Mishra. Veera Sathidar, famous for the Marathi film Court, was also present to receive Mishra at the Nagpur central prison, police said.
Saibaba came under their scanner during Mishra’s interrogation, police said. During his interrogation, Mishra told police he met Saibaba at his Delhi residence and was asked to pass on some “important” documents to the central leadership of CPI (Maoists) in Abujhmadh.
Police said besides Mishra, three other arrested Left leaders — Kobad Ghandy, Bacha Prasad Singh and Prashant Rahi — also named Saibaba as their contact in the national capital.
The anti-Naxalite operation (ANO) wing in Nagpur said the fact that Umar went to Nagpur to receive Mishra pointed to his links with Maoist sympathisers.
Ravindra Kadam, inspector general of police (IGP), Nagpur range, who has been working on anti-Maoist operations in the region for five years, endorsed the ANO observation and said Umar was in Nagpur to receive Mishra.
Mishra refuted the police claim that he was a courier or had any Maoist connection when he was released from Nagpur jail in September last. “In fact, I was arrested from Ballarshah in Chandrapur district and not from Gadchiroli as the police claimed,” he said after his release.
Mishra said he was forcibly detained by the state police when he was on his way to Hemalkasa village in south Gadchiroli to meet the Magsaysay award-winner social worker Dr Prakash Amte.