The Bombay High Court on Monday criticised the Maharashtra Police for holding a press conference on its case against some prominent human rights activists who were arrested for their alleged links with Maoists. The court wondered how can the police hold a press conference when the matter is sub-judice.

The court also adjourned the petition demanding NIA inquiry in Elgar Parishad matter for 7th September because copies of the petition were not served to all concerned persons.

The Maharashtra Police on Friday released details of letters it claimed to have seized from five activists and told the media that the arrested persons were trying to purchase grenade launchers and ammunition worth Rs 8 crore for the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Parambir Singh said the communications, which included “thousands” of letters, were found in hard disks seized from the home of activist Rona Wilson in Delhi. He also claimed that the police required custody of the activists to confront them with the letters.

In a major crackdown, the Pune Police on Tuesday arrested human rights activists Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Pereira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha for their alleged association with the Elgaar Parishad held in Pune ahead of the January 1, 2018 Bhima-Koregaon riots and their alleged links with Maoists. The raids were carried out in Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Haryana.

In this file photo, Pune police commissioner K Venkatesham shows a ‘catalogue’ of weapons allegedly recovered from arrested human rights activists.

Shiv Sena targets Maharashtra Police

The Shiv Sena on Monday also targeted the Maharashtra Police for the arrest of five so-called “urban-Naxals” on charges that they were a plotting a Rajiv Gandhi-style assassination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi among others.

The Sena said in editorials in the party organs “Saamana” and “Dopahar Ka Saamana” that the police contentions behind the arrests of the human rights activists are ridiculous and they (Pune Police) must not shoot off their mouths like this and the government must bar them from such statements. The editorial also took on the Pune Police over claims that Modi was allegedly being targeted for a ‘Rajiv Gandhi-style assassination’.