The National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that the Arsenal Consultancy report alleging that evidence against Rona Wilson, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, was planted could be taken up during the trial and this could not be a ground for seeking quashing of the chargesheet.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the NIA, told a Division Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and N.J. Jamadar that the entire petition relying upon a report by an American private laboratory and calling the NIA evidence unreliable and fabricated could not be accepted at this stage.
He opposed Mr. Wilson’s contention that all the electronic evidence gathered by the NIA was planted and an attacker planted malware in Mr. Wilson’s computer and that it was compromised.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Mr. Wilson, said his laptop was opened and operated upon during search and seizure which violated the guidelines by the Government of India. Mr. Singh dismissed the allegation and said the laptop was operated for 10 minutes by a cyber forensic expert.
On February 10, 2021, Mr. Wilson had moved the High Court mentioning the report by Arsenal Consulting which was roped in by the American Bar Association to examine the clone copy of the hard disc of Mr. Wilson’s computer. The report stated that a hacker controlled his computer for a period of 22 months through malware to plant documents which led to an investigation that supposedly unravelled a conspiracy to eliminate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mr. Singh argued that proceedings were going on in the court in Mumbai, so how was it permissible to send clone copies of evidence to a lab in America. He said there was a prima facie case against Mr. Wilson. “How can the petitioner [Mr. Wilson] rely on an independent report for quashing the chargesheet and say that the NIA’s report is not reliable,” Mr. Singh asked.
The matter is adjourned to August 27.