Synchronised raids were conducted today at eight locations across five states in connection with an alleged plot by the Maoist extremists to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The raids were conducted by police teams in Maharashtra, Goa, Telangana, Delhi and Jharkhand.
The ongoing raids were said to have been conducted as a follow up to the ones carried out in June in connection with Bhima-Koregaon protests. Maharashtra police had previously conducted raids in the aftermath of Bhima-Koregaon violence.
The police had claimed to have found evidence – emails, documents, literary materials – to indicate that the left wing extremists (LWE) were planning to conduct a "Rajiv Gandhi-type" assassination bid on PM Modi.
In the latest series of raids, police searched houses of well known revolutionary writer and Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao and her daughter in Pune. Rao has been arrested.
Houses of a journalist working with a leading business paper and a Telugu language journalist were also raided in Pune. Another house of a professor working with the English and Foreign Language University has been searched.
Additional inputs from Kiran Tare in Mumbai:
Raids were also conducted in Jharkhand, Delhi and Telangana. Sources said that houses of Arun Ferreira, Susan Abraham and Vernon Gonsalvez in Munbai, Anand Teltumbde in Goa, Stalin Swamy in Jharkhand, and Gautam Navlakha and Sudha Bhardwaj in Delhi were raided.
In Hyderabad too, three homes were under search. They were related to VV Rao and Kranti and Kaseem of Virasam, all are suspected to have links with Maoists. "We have so far confiscated laptops, phones and books," a source said.
The Maharashtra police in Pune claimed that the Maoists had plotted and executed the riots which left one person dead during Bhima-Koregaon violence and created a rift between the upper castes and the Dalits. More inputs from Saurabh Vaktania and Divyesh Singh:
Poet and activist Varavara Rao’s name had surfaced when Pune police arrested Surendra Gadling from Nagour in June in connection with the Elgaar Parishad rally case.
A letter was recovered from Gadling in which Rao complimented him on success of attack launched by Naxalites in Surjagad area of Gadchiroli. Around 100 vehicles belonging to a mining company had been set ablaze in the incident.
Similarly, letters discussing assassinatiom of Prime Minister Narendra Modi were recovered from another accused Rona Wilson, who was close to convicted professor GN Saibaba for running a Naxalite module.
Stalin Swamy is another accused named in the case. His name cropped up in the emails and letters of the arrested accused in he Elgaar Parishad case.
Among the places raided today was Arun Farreira’s house in Thane. Farreira had recently shifted to house in Thane. Earlier, he used to stay in Mumbai. India Today spoke exclusively to Arun Farreira, he confirmed raids were going on at his house since morning 6 am.
Farreira has claimed innocence. His wife, Jenny said, "We are in a very tensed situation right now. Raids are going on at our place. We will talk once they are over."
Arun Farreira is allegedly a Naxalite sympathiser. He had been arrested five times for his alleged Naxal links in the past. But he has been discharged in all the cases. Having spent some time in jail, he is known to have fought for the rights of prisoners inside jail.>