Bhima Koregaon case: NIA summons professor, journalist

A university professor and a journalist, both from Hyderabad, would be appearing before officials of the National Investigation Agency, Mumbai on Wednesday in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case.

They are sons-in-law of revolutionary writer Varavara Rao from Telangana who was arrested by Pune police of Maharashtra for his alleged links with the outlawed CPI-Maoist and lodged in prison for over past 18 months. Professor K. Satyanarayana of English and Foreign Languages University and K.V. Kurmanath, Deputy Editor with the The Hindu-BusinessLine daily received summons to appear before NIA-Mumbai authorities. The summons were issued under Sections 160 and 91 of Criminal Procedure Code to appear as witnesses in Bhima Koregaon violence related cases. In August 2018, Pune police raided the professorโ€™s quarter here stating that they had to conduct searches to gather evidences against his father-in-law Varavara Rao.

By then already a case was registered against Mr. Rao. His flat in Chikkadpally here too was searched along with that of Mr. Kurmanath and residences of some others that time. โ€œI stated on the day of searching my flat by Maharashtra police that I was in no way connected to Bhima Koregaon police,โ€ Mr. Satyanarayana said.

โ€œThe fact of Mr. Rao being my father-in-law was used to raid my house and cause mental agony to my family,โ€ he said. Stating that he was a family member of Mr. Rao, the professor reiterated that he had no links whatsoever with Bhima Koregaon case. The notices sent by NIA, in the backdrop of deteriorating health of Mr. Rao in Maharashtra prison and the coronavirus pandemic spreading fast, distressed the family, he said.

Maoist connections

A special team of Pune police landed in Hyderabad and arrested Varavara Rao on August 28, 2018 from his flat here alleging that he had connections with CPI-Maoists and conspired to create disturbances in Maharashtra. Four other rights activists were picked up by that State police from different parts of the country on about similar charges. Mr. Rao was taken to Pune from Hyderabad. Following a writ petition filed by historian Romilla Thapar, Supreme Court passed an order to keep the writer under house arrest. The writerโ€™s house arrest period was extended from time to time by the apex court.

However, in November the same year, Pune police arrested the revolutionary writer and shifted him to a prison in Maharashtra. Since then, he is in the prison.

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