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Pune:

Arrested Activists are Members of Banned CPI-Maoist, Says Prosecutor

“Varun Gosalves, Arun Ferreira and Varavara Rao are active members of banned organization, Communist Party of India (Maoist) [CPI (M)]”, said prosecutor to a Pune session court while seeking the remand of the three accused activists arrested on Tuesday.

Pune police on Tuesday had conducted raids in different parts of the country and had arrested five accused activists in connection with Bhima Koregaon violence case, three of which were produced before Pune sessions court on Wednesday.

Vernon Gosalves was arrested from Mumbai, Arun Ferreira from Thane whereas Varavara Rao was arrested from Hyderabad.

Seeking their remand for 14 days, the public prosecutor informed the court that the accused were themselves involved in the crime and many documents have been seized during the search operation at their houses. The court was also informed that electronic devices seized from the accused need to be investigated.

The grounds on which Pune police has sought their remand included that ‘code language was used in some seized letters which needs to be investigated and their funding sources also require to be checked”.

The court was also informed that the video shooting has been done of the raids, starting from knocking the doors and all throughout the process.

The prosecution also claimed, “in order to overthrow the government the accused have together formed an ‘anti-fascist’ – All India United Front.”

Speaking about their involvement in the violence, it was told that Ferreira had a role to recruit the students and send them to Jungle area, to train them there. It was also claimed that Varavara Rao had an authority to purchase the weapons from Nepal and Manipur.

Defence lawyer contested that Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) was wrongly put on accused since no weapons are used and other criteria of UAPA are also not met.

Defence counsel said, “From past four months they have been interrogating the case, we have cooperated with police in their search operations”.

“If the evidence seized is being sent to Forensic Lab (FSL) then what is the need of police interrogation and what the need of custody is?” the defence counsel argued.

The sessions court judge reiterated the decision of Supreme Court to keep all arrested accused including Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and VV Rao under house arrest till September 5.

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