The claim is sensational and, if true, really serious. Some TV channels lapped it up in April when it first surfaced, but many laughed at it as a police fabrication. It is about a letter one ‘R’ is said to have written to ‘Comrade Prakash’, an underground Maoist leader, openly suggesting an assassination plot against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, talking of Rs 8 crore to buy sophisticated weapons and other plans to wage war on the State. The Pune police have once again publicised this letter, which they claimed to have seized during a raid in April before the arrests of five activists in June, to justify the arrests of five more activists on August 28.
Curiously, the police did not place this and other letters before the court while seeking remand of the activists. This and several other holes in the story of the letters, which police claimed to have found on the laptop of activist Rona Wilson who was arrested in June, put a question mark on the police’s intentions.
Additional DGP, Maharashtra, Param Bir Singh had on August 31 said that they have “conclusive proof” against the activists, referring to the letter and other documents. One wonders whether the operatives of an underground organisation write such elaborate letters, and keep it on their laptops, especially about an assassination plot against the prime minister. NCP chief Sharad Pawar and BJP ally Shiv Sena have called it laughable. Congress called it Modi’s “old tactics,” in view of the history of such controversial “assassination” plots against him when he was chief minister of Gujarat.
Any plan to assassinate a prime minister is no joke. But it is curious that the matter is being investigated by the police force of a tier-2 city rather than a national agency like the NIA, which is asked to probe such weighty plots as ‘love jihad’. Congress and many others have said that this itself is enough to prove that the whole thing is a farce, being attempted to silence democratic dissenters. They point to the periodic surfacing of assassination plots against Modi ahead of crucial elections.
There have been at least a dozen such plots claimed earlier since he was Gujarat CM. Some of these controversial claims gave rise to equally controversial cases – like the Ishrat Jahan “encounter” case of 2004 and the 2005 “encounter” killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a case that continues to haunt Modi’s man-Friday Amit Shah even today.
It is nobody’s case that there is no threat to Narendra Modi’s life. He will be on the target list of many terrorist organisations, as any prime minister of India would be. But the Pune police are not doing the PM’s security any good by making claims that they cannot back up with solid evidence, and which, even on the surface, mock the intelligence of even the average common man.