The Maharashtra police on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the arrest of 5 human rights activists in connection with Bhima Koregaon violence was based on “cogent evidence” and their link with the banned CPI (Maoists). Pune Police’s contention has come a day after a petition was filed against Additional Director General (ADG) of Maharashtra Police Param Bir Singh and other officers seeking strict actions against him for revealing the evidence and details regarding the investigation in Bhima Koregaon violence before the public at a press conference on August 31.

NOT BECAUSE OF DISSENT 

Filing an affidavit on the arrest of the five alleged urban Naxals – Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha and Sudha Bharadwaj – the police said they were arrested not because of their dissenting opinion against the government but because evidence suggested they were active members of banned CPI (Maoist) organisation.

Police said material found from computers, laptops, pen drives, from memory cards of accused persons clearly implicated arrested persons not only as active members of CPI (Maoist) but clearly reflected a design to commit criminal offences having the potential of destabilizing society.

PUNE POLICE PRESS CONFERENCE 

In his petition, social activist Sanjay Bhalerao urged the Bombay High Court to take action against ADG Param Bir Singh under contempt of court for disobeying court’s order and transfer the case from Pune Police to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Notably, the petitioner who has filed the fresh PIL also claims to be a victim of the violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018.

The petition has been filed a few days after the Bombay High Court criticised the Maharashtra police for holding a press conference and that too when the matter is sub-judice.

In a similar manner, the Maharashtra Government has told the Supreme Court that “incriminating material has emerged against the human rights activists.