Lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, one of the five prominent activists arrested this week after multi-city raids, has responded to the Maharashtra police's claims that there is solid evidence including "thousands of documents and letters" that established the activists' links to Maoists and their role in facilitating weapons and funding.
Ms Bharadwaj, who is under house arrest in Faridabad, alleged that one of the the letters mentioned by the police is fabricated.
"It is a totally concocted letter fabricated to criminalize me and other human rights lawyers, activists and organisations," she said in hand-written statement shared through her lawyer Vrinda Grover.
In a press conference on Friday evening, the Pune police said one of the letters exchanged between an activist and Maoists spoke of planning "another Rajiv Gandhi-like incident to end Modi-raj" and that the central committee of Maoists communicated with these activists through password protected messages sent through courier. "A letter written from Delhi-based activist Rona Wilson to Maoist leader Prakash on July 30, 2017, spoke of requirement of Rs. 8 crore for grenade launchers with four lakh rounds", Additional Director General (law and order) Parambir Singh said.
Rona Wilson was among five activists arrested in June in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence in Maharashtra in January.
"It is a mixture of innocuous and publicly available facts and baseless fabrication various legal and democratic activities such as meetings, seminars, protests have been sought to be delegitimized by alleging that they are funded by Maoists," Ms Bharadwaj said in her 10-point rebuttal.
The activists arrested by Pune police earlier this week - Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, activists Arun Fereira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves - are under house arrest on the Supreme Court's orders. The arrests are based on evidence gathered after the June arrests.
Some of the letters exchanged between the arrested activists spoke of planning "some big action" which would attract attention, police said.