Bhima-Koregaon violence case: file reply to pleas by Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, HC tells Maharashtra

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Maharashtra government to file its reply to the pleas filed by Rona Wilson and Shoma Sen, accused in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, seeking to quash the sanction granted to prosecute them under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

A Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and Manish Pitale also instructed the probing agency, National Investigation Agency (NIA), to file its reply to Ms. Sen’s plea.

Their petitions also urged the court to release them on bail as the prosecution’s case was based entirely on fraudulent evidence that was fabricated and planted in order to implicate them.

Mr. Wilson is lodged at Taloja Central Jail while Ms. Sen is at Byculla jail. They have relied upon a report by a digital forensic analyst Arsenal Consultancy in the U.S. that has debunked all the electronic evidence gathered by the NIA and said the attacker had planted malware in Mr. Wilson’s computer and that it was compromised.

Appearing for the NIA, additional solicitor general Anil Singh sought time to file its reply to Ms. Sen’s petition.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, representing Mr. Wilson, told the court that the pleas challenged the sanction granted by the Maharashtra government in 2018 to prosecute the petitioners under the UAPA as they claimed it was done without application of mind.

She said because the State was the sanctioning authority, it must file its reply to both the pleas. Ms. Jaising also said that Shivaji Pawar, the then investigating officer, had failed to record that there was tampering of the computer belonging to Mr. Wilson and therefore he must file his independent reply.

Public prosecutor Deepak Thakare sought four weeks’ time on behalf of the State to file its reply to both the petitions.

The matter will be heard on June 16.

On April 30, the NIA had filed an affidavit in Mr. Wilson’s petition opposing it. The superintendent of police had said that Arsenal’s report did not form part of the chargesheets which were filed by the NIA and the Pune police. “It is the settled position of law that documents which are not part of the chargesheet cannot be relied upon by Mr. Wilson and as such there is no question of looking into the report of Arsenal Consultancy and the entire petition deserves to be rejected,” it said.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 3:28:46 AM |

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