Arrested activist’s son says charges against his father false

Mumbai |The son of Vernon Gonsalves, one of the five activists arrested for alleged Maoist links, Saturday rejected the police charges against his father and termed them as “laughable”.

Vernon Gonsalves, a Mumbai resident, is one of the prominent activists and lawyers whose homes were raided by the Pune Police on August 28 on suspicion they had links with Maoists. He and four others were later arrested.

His son Sagar Gonsalves said charges against him were false.

The police claimed to have “conclusive proof”, including letters seized during the raids, to link the arrested Left-wing activists to Maoists.

“I was present when searches and raids were conducted at our home and I know what police have seized,” said Sagar Gonsalves.

He said allegations against his father, made by a top police officer while addressing a press conference Friday, with regards to alleged letters was like “talking in the air”.

“I could not stop laughing when the police were levelling false charges with so-called letters,” he said.

Besides Vernon Gonsalves, the other arrested are Varavara Rao (Hyderabad), Arun Ferreira (Mumbai), Sudha Bharadwaj (Faridabad) and Gautam Navalakha (New Delhi).

The Supreme Court has ordered that the five be kept under house arrest till September 6.

The raids were carried out as part of a probe into the “Elgaar Parishad”, an event organised in Pune on December 31, 2017, which allegedly triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune district the next day.

Addressing a press conference here, Additional Director General (Law and Order) Param Bir Singh said an email exchanged between Rona Wilson, an activist, and a Maoist leader, speaks of ending “Modi-raj” with a ‘Rajiv Gandhi-type incident’.

Wilson was arrested in Delhi in June in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence in Maharashtra in January.

Besides Wilson, other activists-lawyers arrested in June by the Pune Police. They were Sudhir Dhawale (from Mumbai), Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut (all from Nagpur).

All the activists arrested in June and early this week had links with Maoists, Singh had said.

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