Pune: A letter discussing a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the lines of former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s killing sent shivers in the political circles on Thursday. The letter found in the house of one of the five persons arrested over "links" with CPI (Maoist) talks about the ultras mulling “another Rajiv Gandhi type incident" to end the Modi regime at the Centre, Pune police told a court on Thursday.
Police have arrested Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale, lawyer Surendra Gadling, activists Mahesh Raut and Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson from Mumbai, Nagpur and Delhi, respectively, in connection with 'Elgar Parishad' held here in December and the subsequent Bhima-Koregaon violence in the district.
All five were produced before the sessions court, which remanded them in police custody till June 14.
A letter found in Rona Wilson's house in Delhi talks about requirement of Rs 8 crore to procure M-4 rifle and four lakh rounds, and also about "another Rajiv Gandhi incident", prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar told the court.
The letter addressed to one 'Comrade Prakash' reads: "Greater suppression of dissent... Com. Kisan and few other senior comrades have proposed concrete steps to end Modi-raj. We are thinking along the lines of another Rajiv Gandhi type incident."
"It sounds suicidal and there is a chance that we might fail but party must deliberate on our proposal," the letter further states.
"It is a very serious matter. It is known that Naxals are under pressure. It is sinister and dangerous. Many of these elements tend to link up with mainstream parties," said the BJP's Nalin Kohli.
Seeking their remand, Pawar told judge A S Bhailsare, that documents seized also showed that preparation for the Elgar Parishad, which police believe was backed and funded by the Maoists — was going on for two months.
Quoting another letter allegedly seized from Wilson's house, Pawar said, "The higher Committee has appreciated the endearing efforts of all urban comrades for the specific tasks given to them... there is a lot of ground to be covered. Comrade Mangalu and Deepu have been coordinating the Koregaon programme (for) last two months with Comrade Sudhir.
"They have been able to gather support from the larger sections of Dalits across the state," Pawar quoted the letter as saying.
Evidence also showed that funds were provided by the CPI (Maoist) to "comrade Sudhir" for Koregaon Bhima "task" and "Comrade Shoma and Surendra" were authorised to provide funds for future programmes, the prosecutor said.
In one of the letters from one Prakash to Wilson, it is stated that the Bhima Koregaon agitation was losing its steam, and cadres should keep it alive, Pawar said.
Investigation also revealed that senior Maoist leaders were asking lower-rung cadres to target and recruit "intelligent" students from "renowned" institutes, she said.
The lawyers of the accused said the documents cited by the prosecution were fabricated, and the accused have been framed up.
One of the defence lawyers pointed out that while police invoked the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against the five accused, the stringent law was not applied against right-wing activists Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, who are accused of inciting anti-Dalit violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1.
Earlier in the day, Joint Commissioner of Police Ravindra Kadam told reporters that a letter allegedly seized from Wilson's house had been sent by fugitive Maoist leader Milind Teltumbde.
When asked if it refers to the Congress and Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar (as alleged by a BJP leader), he said, "The letter has their references, but we are still investigating the details."
Documents seized from Gadling's house in Nagpur show his indirect connection to recent Maoist attacks in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and in Chhattisgarh, Kadam said.
Dhawale was one of the organisers of Elgar Parishad, organised to commemorate 200 years of the Koregaon Bhima battle, on December 31.
Police had earlier claimed that Kabir Kala Manch activists made provocative speeches at the gathering, leading to violence at Bhima Koregaon the next day.
Police also said that Teltumbde, comrade Prakash, comrade Manglu and comrade Deepu have been added as absconding accused in the present case.
Kadam had claimed that some of the arrested activists were the "top brass of the Urban Maoists".
Dalits commemorate the 1818 battle of Bhima Koregaon where British forces, mostly consisting of Mahar soldiers (who were Dalits), defeated the forces of Peshwa, ending the Maratha rule. Some Hindu organisations had opposed the celebration this year.