NIA charges 8 accused with Maoist conspiracy
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has laid out damning charges of Maoist conspiracy, receiving funds and recruiting cadre for left-wing extremist groups and inculcating sympathies among university students, against prominent activists and academics arrested in connection with the 2018 Bhima Koregaon caste clashes.
The NIA claimed Delhi University professor Hany Babu Musaliyarveetil Tharayil, charge-sheeted last week along with seven other people in the case, inculcated sympathies for Maoists among students in Delhi, especially Dalit students.
In a 10,000-page charge sheet – filed last week and reviewed by HT on Tuesday – the agency said Babu had with him documents pertaining to “mass mobility, analysis of cities like Mumbai, Surat from political, geological, socio-economical, religious profile as if done to see the potential of making inroads for Maoists”.
Some documents mentioned methods for mastering of secret works, instructions of central committee of Maoists on work required to be done in urban areas; guidelines for work in working classes, finances, information literature related to a weapon, bomb, mortar as well as company drill of PLGA (People’s Liberation Guerilla Army), the charge sheet said.
He was also in touch with a secretary – Paikhomba Meitei - of a Manipur-based banned outfit Kangleipak Communist Party- Military Council (KCP-MC), NIA adds
Asserting that Babu was an active member of CPI (Maoist), the charge sheet added that he organised an event for the release of Delhi University professor GN Saibaba under the banner of ‘committee for the defence and release of G N Saibaba’. Saibaba is currently in jail on charges of alleged Maoist links.
Babu’s wife, Jenny Rowena, denied the allegations.
“I don’t think he even knows about any of these things. It’s good that they have filed a charge sheet because now we can fight the charges in the court of law. As far as his role in G N Saibaba committee is concerned, it’s in public domain. And the documents which they took away this year, they were always there. Why didn’t they take the same earlier? If there was something secret in documents recovered from him, wouldn’t we have destroyed it?”
Last Friday, the NIA filed the charge sheet against eight persons. They are: academics Anand Teltumbde and Hany Babul; activist Gautam Navlakha; activist Father Stan Swamy; three members of Leftist cultural group Kabir Kala Manch - Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor; and secretary of Maharashtra State Committee of the CPI (Maoist) Milind Teltumbde, who is said to be on the run.
The case pertains to the violence that broke out in the village of Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018 during a celebration of a British-era war by Dalits, and left one person dead. The NIA has claimed that event held on December 31, 2017 in Pune called the Elgaar Parishad was used by Maoists to plan and fuel the violence. In all, 16 people have been arrested in connection with the case.
On 83-year-old activist Father Stan Swamy, arrested last week, the charge sheet said he received Rs 8 lakh from an individual identified as “Comrade Mohan” for spreading the activities of CPI (Maoist).
Several documents recovered from his place, which are part of charge sheet, allegedly included “an underground handbook, letter between cadres for using encryption, mini-manual of urban guerilla, the constitution of CPI Maoist, documents related to the status of PLGA in excel sheet, document on strategy and tactics”.
In one of the letters seized from him, it is allegedly stated that Maoists were keeping an eye on the strategy of the Union home ministry pertaining to operations against them.
According to NIA, this letter suggested that after the arrest of Telugu poet Varavara Rao (in November 2018 in connection with the same case) – referred to as ‘VV’ in the letter -- Maoists’ Central Committee felt they had no leader of equal experience, a situation that could lead to further splintering among the cadre, especially those working at an all-India level.
“If we don’t take immediate measures, the new comrades who wish to join the party may become skeptical of our sincerity and ability to fight the fascist political powers in India,” the letter allegedly recovered from Swamy read.
This letter is now part of the charge sheet.
Another letter allegedly recovered from Swamy – dated July 2017 and written in Telugu, according to NIA -- forms the basis of the Elgar Parishad programme on December 31 that year as it talked about organising an event under the leadership of activist Sudhir Dhawale --- who is also behind bars -- to further the agenda of CPI (Maoist).
Ranchi-based food rights activist Siraj Dutta said, “Father Stan Swamy has been working for the rights of Adivasis for decades. It’s all to harass him.”
On the role of Navlakha, the NIA charge sheet said that his job was “to unite the intellectuals against the government” in urban areas to defeat it both physically and otherwise”.
“Navlakha participated in fact finding committee (for Maoists’ work in urban areas); assigned task for recruitment of cadres for the guerilla activities of CPI (Maoist) and knew about the young activists in Delhi, Mumbai and Chhattisgarh who were ready to join and serve the Maoist revolution”, the charge sheet said.
NIA said Navlakha allegedly visited Dandakaranya – a densely forested area in Bastar in Chhattisgarh that is largely controlled by Maoists - with Swedish author Jan Myrdal, known for his Marxist-Leninist ideology.
Yug Chaudhry, Navlakha’s lawyer, denied the charges. “Yes, he has gone to the jungle for academic purposes. He has met the Maoists and written a book about Naxalism. It’s not a crime to study Naxalism.”
As first reported by HT in July, the NIA charge sheet also mentioned that Navlakha met a senior official of the Pakistani spy agency ISI, through Ghulam Nabi Fai, a US-based Pakistan-bankrolled Kashmiri separatist who was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2011.
From Navlakha, the NIA allegedly recovered strategic documents of Maoists, critical secret communications with underground senior leaders.