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Delhi court asks police how they plan to access Pracha’s computer data

Pracha’s firm Legal Axis is defending several persons accused in cases related to the riots. The office had also been raided in December, drawing condemnation by members of the legal fraternity, who called it a breach of attorney-client privilege.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: March 13, 2021 1:42:46 am
Mehmood Pracha. Pracha, in an application moved before a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Tuesday, said police have already collected documents and accessed all computers installed in his office during raids conducted in December 2020. (File)

A Delhi court Friday directed Delhi Police to file its response detailing how it proposes to extract specific data from a hard disk belonging to advocate Mehmood Pracha without disclosing data pertaining to his other clients.

A team of counter intelligence of the Special Cell Tuesday went to conduct searches at Pracha’s Nizamuddin East office in a case related to alleged use of forged documents in judicial records in a Northeast Delhi riots case, but returned after they found the office locked. Pracha’s firm Legal Axis is defending several persons accused in cases related to the riots. The office had also been raided in December, drawing condemnation by members of the legal fraternity, who called it a breach of attorney-client privilege.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma, who passed the order, said Pracha’s concerns relating to protection of privileged communication with clients have to be addressed.

The court noted that the hard disk in connection with which search warrant was issued also contained data pertaining to other clients. It stated, “The protection available under section 126 of Indian Evidence Act makes it imperative that the Court protect data/files relating to communication of clients with the applicant stored in the hard disk from interference of police while collecting target data.”

The court stated that the issue of retrieval of target data without interfering with other data has to be “meticulously looked upon”.

The court noted that Pracha has already given consent for furnishing data through pen drive or computer. Pracha, in an application moved before a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Tuesday, said police have already collected documents and accessed all computers installed in his office during raids conducted in December 2020.

He further alleged that the case against him is “completely baseless” and has been instituted with the sole objective of “hounding” him at the behest of and as “a part of conspiracy involving senior politicians, bureaucrats and even judicial officers”.

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