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SOURCE: THE WEEK

Was the banned CPI (Maoist) funding the organisers of Elgar Parishad that led to violence and loss of lives and property to promote naxal ideology? Did some of the activists have links to Pakistan ISI? 

Making shocking revelations, the National Investigation Agency on Friday filed its supplementary chargesheet in the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case in a special court in Mumbai, where it has accused Delhi-based activist Gautam Navlakha of being in touch with Pakistan ISI. Sources in the NIA said that there is evidence of Navlakha’s multiple visits to the US where he was approached by ISI officials who wanted him to work for them as well as help them recruit more ISI agents in the country. Meanwhile, Hany Babu, an associate professor at Delhi University, has been accused of being instrumental in organising visits of foreign journalists to CPI (Maoist) areas. He was also assigned present and future task of Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), a banned organisation in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.  

Besides Navalakha and Professor Babu, others named in the chargesheet are: Anand Teltumbde, resident of Dadar (East), Mumbai; Sagar Gorkhe from Wakad in Pune; Ramesh Gaichor from Pune; Jyoti Jagtap from Kondhawa, Maharashtra; Stan Swamy from Ranchi in Jharkhand and Milind Teltumbde from Yavatmal in Maharashtra. 

They have been charged for offences under various sections of Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.  

The anti-terrorism agency claimed to have found documentary evidence that the funds of the CPI (Maoist), raised through extortion activities, was received by the accused who in turn utilised the money to organise protests which led to incitement of violence and anti-national activities, said sources. 

The NIA has accused Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap and Stan Swamy of conspiring with other accused persons to further the ideology of CPI (Maoist), abet violence and incite disaffection towards the government established by law, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, caste and community. 

As per the NIA chargesheet, Navlakha’s active role and involvement came up in the secret communications with CPI (Maoist) cadres. His links with Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) also came to the fore, it said. Meanwhile, Professor Babu has been accused of being instrumental in organising visits of foreign journalists to CPI (Maoist) areas. He was also assigned present and future task of Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), a banned organisation in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. 

“The absconding accused Milind Teltumbde also organised camps for imparting weapons training to other accused persons,” said the NIA chargesheet that runs into more than 10,000 pages.

Delving into the role of each of the accused persons, the chargesheet says that Anand Teltumbde, who normally resides in Goa, was one of the conveners of ‘Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan’ and was present at Shaniwar Wada, Pune on December 31, 2017 when Elgar Parishad Programme was organized. 

“He played an active role with other Maoist cadres and received funds from them for carrying out the activities. Incriminating documents revealing his deep involvement with CPI (Maoist) activities also came to the fore,” said NIA officials. 

The NIA said Navlakha was assigned the task to unite intellectuals against the government. “He was part of some fact-finding committees and was assigned the task to recruit cadres for guerrilla activities of CPI (Maoist),” said the chargesheet . 

The NIA went on to say that Professor Babu was in contact with banned terrorist organisation Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) of Manipur and was instrumental in making efforts for release of convicted accused G. N. Saibaba on the directions of CPI (Maoist) and was raising funds for the same,” said the chargesheet .

The NIA said Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap are trained cadres of CPI (Maoist) and members of Kabir Kala Manch, a frontal organisation of the CPI (Maoist). They attended meetings for the organisation of Elgar Parishad programme with other co-accused as the part of a well-chalked out conspiracy. They allegedly propagated the agenda of CPI (Maoist) and made planning and co-ordination all over Maharashtra. 

According to the chargesheet, Stan Swamy is a CPI (Maoist) cadre actively involved in its activities. “He was in communication with other CPI (Maoist) cadres. He propagated among the cadres that the arrest of urban CPI (Maoist) cadres from different parts of country, particularly in Maharashtra, has caused a huge irrevocable damage to CPI (Maoist),” said the chargesheet, adding that he received funds from other Maoist cadres to further expand the activities of CPI (Maoist). 

“He is convenor of PPSC, a frontal organization of the CPI (Maoist). The incriminating documents related to communications for furthering the activities of CPI (Maoist) and propaganda material and literature of the CPI (Maoist) were seized from his possession,” said the agency.

The NIA case arose out of an FIR registered at the Vishram Baug Police station in Pune regarding inciting people and giving provocative speeches during Elgar Parishad organized at Shaniwarwada by activists of Kabir Kala Manch on December 31, 2017. The police had accused them of promoting enmity between various caste groups resulting in violence and loss of life and property in Maharashtra. 

During investigation, it was revealed that senior leaders of CPI (Maoist), a proscribed terrorist organisation, were in contact with the organizers of Elgar Parishad as well as the accused arrested in the case to spread naxal ideology and encourage unlawful activities, said the NIA officials. 

The Pune Police had earlier filed two chargesheets in this case—one in November 2018 and the other in February 2019—against fifteen accused persons. 

The NIA took up the investigation of the case on January 24, 2020. 

The incriminating documents recovered from the accused include their discreet communications with other Maoist cadres regarding conspiracy related to violent incident of Bhima Koregaon as a part of their well chalked-out strategy. It also included various documents regarding mobilisation against the government by the Maoist cadres, information about movement of the security forces with an intention to cause heavy damage to the state. 

“Discreet codes were used for secret communication amongst themselves to avoid detection by security forces regarding their conspiracy and planning,” said an official . 

Investigation also revealed a systematic network of Maoists operating for supply of arms and ammunition, and having close nexus with other banned proscribed organisation within and outside India, which is a major offence under the NIA Act. 

Besides this, the strategy and tactics adopted by Maoists to carry out so-called urban revolution with their frontal outfits has also been revealed during the investigation. The role of various frontal organizations of CPI (Maoist) has also emerged during the probe, where it has been established that the members of CPI (Maoist) were using these organizations to further their agenda.

Sources in the NIA said that it is through scientific and detailed analysis of more than 10,000 pages of communications made by various accused, reliable oral, documentary and material evidence that the agency has been able to bring on record the charges against the accused and establish the cross border links to the case. Meanwhile, investigations are still continuing.