By Abhijit Sathe and Bipin Kumar Singh

Mumbai: Evidence gathered by the Pune Police following the arrest of 10 suspected members of the CPI (Maoist) in the Bhima-Koregaon riots case suggests a bigger plan of the banned ultra organisation to acquire arms from across the border and target CRPF camps in central India in a bid to consolidate their position.

Emails accessed by the Pune Police following the arrest of five suspects last month has provided several leads to investigators about the plans of Maoist groups across the country. The digital evidence also speaks about the role of Maoists in the Bhima-Koregaon agitation of December last year and how the group was allegedly in touch with their friends in a national party for financial aid. 

The police had arrested suspected Maoists, Rona Wilson, advocate Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawale and Mahesh Raut on June 6, for allegedly participating in disruptive activities and hatching a plot to eliminate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Almost two-and-a-half months later, the police on Tuesday arrested senior Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao from Hyderabad, Arun Ferreira from Thane, Vernon Gonsalves and his advocate wife Susan Abraham from Mumbai, journalist Gautam Navlakha from Delhi and Sudha Bharadwaj from Badarpur.

Attack on PM

According to one of the mails shared by the suspects, in which minutes of discussions between top Maoist leaders were narrated, Varavara Rao had suggested a 'Rajiv Gandhi-type' incident to end the Modi regime, perhaps by targeting the prime minister's road shows. Rao allegedly said that the BJP's ascent to power in 15 states had posed a tremendous challenge to Maoist activities and the party needed to put a brake on Modi's progress.

Arms from Pakistan

Sources in the Pune Police said that the emails talk about the Maoists having negotiated a deal to purchase arms from Pakistan in order to beef up their underground cadre. For that their tied up with a Jammu and Kashmir activist, Mohammed Siraj, who in turn connected the Maoists to sources across the border to acquire M-4 assault rifles and lakhs of rounds of ammunition. The arms order was going to cost the Maoists Rs 10 crore, the sources said.

Also read: Know urban naxals Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bharadwaj

"A senior functionary of Nepal's Communist Party (Revolutionary Maoist), Basantha, had helped the CPI (Maoist) crack the deal," a senior Pune Police officer, who did not wish to be named, said.

Attack on anti-naxal forces

In one of the emails, senior CPI (Maoist) functionaries had expressed anguish that the underground cadre were getting disheartened because of successes of paramilitary forces and had planned a major retaliatory action. 

The Pune Police has alerted central intelligence agencies and the police and paramilitary forces operating in anti-naxal oprations in central and eastern India of a proposed plan of the Maoists to attack CRPF camps in these regions. Sources said the arrested Maoist suspects are believed to have delivered maps and information about CRPF camps to party leaders so that they can plan attacks. The maps were prepared by Maoist sympathisers associated with human rights movement in these states.

Abduction of government officers

The CPI (Maoist) has a plan B in case their objective of attacking CRPF camps did not succeed. "There is clear-cut advice by senior Maoist functionaries to go in for the abduction of top government officials in these states and secure the release of arrested party functionaries in bargain," the source said.

Infiltration in education institutes

Top Maoist leaders is understood to have appreciated the role of its Mumbai unit to penetrate top education institutes to hunt for new talent. The Maoist leadership, through the emails, lauded the work of its Mumbai unit for managing to recruit half-a-dozen full-time 'professional revolutionaries' from a premier social studies institute in Mumbai. The party intended to assign responsibility to these new recruits in urban areas.

Also read: Nationwide crackdown on urban naxals Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha, Rona Wilson, others

"The party was particularly happy with the contribution of Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves for this work," the source added.

Bhima-Koregaon agitation

The mails accessed by the Pune Police revealed that the CPI (Maoist) had acknowledged the contribution of Dhawale and his effort raise the dalit question during the Bhima-Koregaon agitation. 

"Dhawale has worked for more than two months to make the agitation a success," Milind Teltumbde, one of the top Maoist leaders, said in the mail, adding that the agitation has caused severe irritation to the BJP government in Maharashtra.

Maoist leaders in touch national party 

However, there is also a startling revelation, in which a Maoist leader claimed that senior party functionaries were in touch with leaders in a national party and were assured of financial and legal assistance during the agitation. 

Jharkhand connection

Following a recent ministry of home affairs directive to the Jharkhand government about keeping an eye on the activities of the CPI (Maoist) and Popular Front of India (PFI), a police team from Jharkhand is currently camping at Pune. The MHA had categorically pointed out a strong bonding between the CPI (Maoist) and PFI, who have been coordinating their activities on a day-to-day basis in Jharkhand. 

Sources add that the Pune Police has shared eight mobile numbers with the Jharkhand Police. These numbers were locally procured in Jharkhand and were allegedly used by the Maoists to coordinate among themselves on a national level. The MHA directive categorically names Stan Swamy as the coordinator of all the activities in Jharkhand. Swamy's house was also raided by the Pune Police at Ranchi on Tuesday.