DEFENCE lawyers led by Surendra Gadling Monday again cross-examined forensic expert Bhavesh Nikam in the G N Saibaba trial in Gadchiroli court before they proceeded with their final argument. The prosecution lawyer, Special Public Prosecutor Prashant Sathiyanathan had, in earlier hearings, put forth “critical forensic evidence” to claim that Saibaba was working to coordinate the overground front activities of Naxalites, including liaisoning with friendly international organisations using the alias of Prakash.
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The evidence was in the form of “original authorship” of the material seized from Saibaba’s computer hard disks, pen drives and chips from his daily residence established with the help of an authentic software called ‘EnCase’.
The defence, instead of straightaway countering the prosecution claim, preferred to recall then Assistant Scientific Officer of Forensic Science Laboratory Mumbai to once again cross-examine him on the “technicalities” of the above mentioned forensic evidence. On Monday, Gadling quizzed Nikam on the whole “chain of custody” of the evidence in order to check for possible tampering in custody.
He also sought to check the authencity of licence for EnCase.
“We produced the said licence as also the original prosecution permission from Home Department as sought by the defence,” said Sathiyanathan.
Nikam, now serving in a private company, explained the whole chain of custody to claim that the original authorship could be traced irrespective of change in the custodian. Nikam also presented the complete log of access to the file to prove the original authorship.
Lawyers of other side refused to talk.
The court of Principal, District and Sessions Judge S S Shinde fixed the next hearing for January 23, when the defence is expected to begin its final arguments.