Activist Varavara Rao arrested over alleged plot to murder Modi

Rao was arrested in Hyderabad by Maharashtra police; activists allege foul play

Varavara Rao Varavara Rao

Revolutionary writer and well-known civil rights activist, Varavara Rao, was detained by the Maharashtra police in Hyderabad on Tuesday afternoon to probe his role in an alleged assassination plot of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bhima Koregaon violence. Searches were conducted right from 6 am in the morning in the two-bedroom flat of Rao, which is located in the Gandhinagar area. 

The Maharashtra police officials also raided the houses of Rao's two daughters. While one daughter stays in the same building, the other lives in the English and Foreign Language University (EFLU) campus. The officials also landed at the house of a Telugu newspaper journalist, T. Kranthi, and searched the property for hours.

It may be recalled that a few months back, police officials had allegedly seized a letter from activist Rona Wilson’s house in Pune. As per news reports, it was mentioned in the letter that Rao would help in funding the plot to assassinate Modi. The allegation was immediately denied by the 78-year-old activist, who accused the NDA government of a conspiracy. 

Even as the searches were on, a large number of activists and supporters of Rao assembled outside his residence and raised slogans against the state and central governments. A group of activists also approached the local police officials who clarified that they were not involved in the operation. His supporters, then, tried to meet Telangana home minister who also refused to intervene.

After more than seven hours, the Maharashtra police collected a mobile phone, some documents, literary work and hard disk from Rao’s house. He was taken by the officials to a government hospital and then to a local court under heavy security cover to obtain transit warrant. It is learnt that Rao will be flown to Pune by Tuesday night.

Speaking immediately after the searches concluded, Hemalatha, wife of Rao, said that the arrests were not new to them but expressed surprise at the way the officials carried out the searches. She said that the officials informed Rao at the end of their search operation that they would arrest him. He said he is ready to fight it in the court and left with them, she said.