The Maharashtra police, who have built a case against revolutionary writer Varavara Rao (VV) and seven other sympathisers of Maoists in connection with an alleged conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are finding it difficult to overcome what they say is “judicial overreach” as well as mounting pressure exerted by the so-called liberal and pro-Left elements on social media.

With the hearing in the case slated in the Supreme Court for Thursday, the Maharashtra cops have sought the cooperation of Telangana police who have a dossier on VV and other Maoist sympathisers. A senior police official from Telangana police confirmed while talking to The Sunday Guardian that Maharashtra cops were in touch with them. The police officials of both the states were taken aback by the sudden and widespread protests on the social media over the arrests and the SC’s order on 29 August to keep VV, journalist Gautam Navalakha, lawyers Sudha Bhardwaj and Arun Ferriera and lecturer Vernon Gonsalves under house arrest.

VV is currently under house arrest. All the activists including VV were grilled and arrested from different locations in the country early this week in connection with two cases—one for instigating Bhim-Koeregoan riots on 31 December 2017 and another for hatching a conspiracy to carry out a “Rajiv Gandhi type” killing of PM Modi. The cops stumbled upon this letter, allegedly written by a Maoist supporter Rona Wilson to Comrade Prakash (who is still to be identified), which mentioned the names of several other activists including VV who is believed to be a major conduit between the underground and over-ground operatives of Maoist cadre, according to the Telangana police officials.

The contents of the letter also matched with a letter recovered from Bhardwaj and its details were released to the media by Maharashtra additional director general of police (law and order) Param Bir Singh in Mumbai on Friday. Both Singh and Pune city police commissioner K. Venkatesham spoke to the media on similar lines and talked of involvement of these activists to stage a “big action” (crime) soon.

The cops in Hyderabad are analysing the contents of Bhardwaj’s letter to “Com Prakash”. The letter talks of utilising the social media to mount public pressure on the government. Singh claimed to have recovered “thousands” of documents from the arrested activists early this week to establish their involvement in the conspiracy to “eliminate” the PM. The Pune commissioner told the media that they had collected enough material evidence to nail the role of the activists and their links with arms and ammunition dealers in India and Nepal.

“The origin of the case began with violent riots at Koregaon where Dalits and Marathas clashed, but turned into a conspiracy to kill the sitting PM just like the way a former PM was killed over two decades ago. The role of those involved in the entire episode spans across the cases and their involvement ranges in varying degrees,” a source in the Telangana prosecution department said. The reputation of some of those who moved the SC like Romila Thappa and some of those who are vehemently condemning the arrests like Aruna Roy, Arundhati Roy and Prashant Bhushan and Bezawada Wilson must be weighing on the mind of the SC bench headed by CJI Deepak Mishra, opined a senior police official who spoke to this newspaper. Currently, efforts are on to seek the release of VV and others from their house arrests so that they can carry on with their routine life. Cops are of the view that social media would play a role in the entire episode.

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