The National Investigation Agency on Thursday carried out searches at several locations in Hyderabad, including the home of journalist N Venugopal, reported The New Indian Express.

Venugopal, the editor of Veekshanam magazine, is the son-in-law of Varavara Rao.

Rao is among 15 persons who have been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly conspiring to set off caste violence in the Bhima Koregaon village near Pune in 2018. He was granted bail on medical grounds in August 2022.

The raids on Venugopal’s house are reportedly in connection with him having links to Sanjoy Deepak Rao, leader of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Raids were also conducted at activist Ravi Sharma’s home on the same allegations.

Sanjoy Deepak Rao, wanted in several cases, was arrested by the Cyberabad Police’s intelligence department in September. The police had said at the time that Sanjoy Deepak Rao was the secretary of the Western Ghat Special Zonal Committee, South Regional Bureau, and a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), reported The Indian Express.

Earlier, the Maharashtra government had announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh to anyone who could give information about Sanjoy Deepak Rao.

Following the raids, Venugopal stated that his phone was seized.

“Despite my objections citing a similar ongoing court case where phone confiscation was challenged, the NIA team seized my phone in the raid,” he was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express. “A team of eight members came at 5 am and revealed their search warrant when I let them inside.”

He said that the anti-terror agency also confiscated some essays he had written about the threatening letters that were sent by gangster Nayeemuddin – who died in 2016 – to several individuals in 2013.