Hyderabad: Revolutionary writer and activist Varavara Rao was arrested by the Vishrambaug police, Pune, from his house at Gandhinagar in Hyderabad on Tuesday. The police said that Mr Rao was arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad event that led to the violence in Pune on December 31, last year. Near simultaneous searches were carried out at the residences of Rao in Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Farreira in Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in New Delhi.
The role of Mr Rao followed the probe into five persons who were arrested and who were allegedly linked to the Maoist party, which reportedly planned to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Police teams from Pune headed by DCP Suhas Bawache, assisted by the local task force searched the houses of Mr Rao’s sons-in-law — K.V. Kurmanath, journalist working for a national daily, Satynarayana, professor at EFLU (English and Foreign Languages University) and also the house of T. Purushotham Reddy alias Kranthi, a journalist working for a regional daily.
The simultaneous searches started at 6 am and lasted till 1.30 pm at the houses of Mr Rao, Mr Kurmanath and Mr Kranthi, which ended with the arrest of Mr Rao. The police had cordoned off the residential areas and did not allow outsiders to enter the apartments in which the searches were carried out. It might be recalled that in the first week of June, the Pune police arrested activist Sudhir Dhawale in Mumbai, advocate Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut and Shoma Sen from Nagpur and Rona Wilson from Delhi.
Letters recovered from Rona Wilson which were written by Surendra Gadling purportedly indicated that Rao would arrange funds to carry out “attacks”. However, Rao had earlier denied the allegations and said the letters were concocted. Varavara Rao was then taken to Gandhi Hospital for a medical check-up, where his blood pressure was reported as 160/90.
A case was registered against the five accused and also Varavara Rao under sections 153 (b), 505, 120 (b) r/w 34, and sections 13, 16, 17, 18 (b), 20, 38, 39 and 40 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, by the Vishrambaug police for the probe. During the raids, the police seized one hard disc, one memory card, hundreds of documents of CPI (Maoist) party documents, several letters written by the top Maoist cadre, his mobile phone along with his wife’s mobile phone, Aadhar cards and also some party affiliated magazines from Rao’s house. Meanwhile, several such documents were seized from the houses of Kurmanath, Kranthi and also Satyanarayana.
Varavara Rao was then taken to Gandhi Hospital for a medical check-up, where his blood pressure was reported as 160/90. He was then taken to the local court in Nampally, from where the Pune police obtained a transit warrant to take Rao to Pune. Meanwhile, in the searches conducted at the houses of journalists Kurmanath and Kranthi, the police seized letters and DVDs related to the writings and speeches of the Maoists and also seized their mobile phones and a laptop from Kranthi....