Updated: July 14, 2021 9:16:51 am
The Pune Police has recently opposed a petition filed by Rona Wilson, an accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, seeking to quash a chargesheet filed against them claiming the charges levelled were based on material that was allegedly planted on electronic devices of the activist.
The Pune Police said the forensic report of the US-based consultancy was not a part of the chargesheet and can be looked into by the trial court and need to be dealt with currently by the high court.
The police also submitted that a petition filed by Wilson, challenging the sanction granted by the Maharashtra government to prosecute him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act charges, was “premature” and cannot contend that approval was “improper” as sanctioning authority had correctly granted the same.
Earlier this month, the police submitted its affidavit to a division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar, which is hearing Wilson’s writ petition that referred to a report by Arsenal Consulting, a US-based digital forensics consulting company. The report concluded that Wilson’s computer was “infected with malware”, allegedly planted through an email, on June 13, 2016, two years prior to his arrest on June 6, 2018.
The affidavit, filed by Deputy Commissioner of Pune Police Shrinivas Murlidhar Ghadge, stated the sanction had been obtained from the state government in 2018 to prosecute the accused persons to comply with the UAPA section 45 and the same was obtained after perusing material and electronic data collected during the probe. Thereafter, two chargesheets were filed by the police under IPC and UAPA provisions.
The report of the US-based forensic consulting firm, the affidavit stated, relied upon by Wilson in his petition, did not form a part of the chargesheet and the only avenue to rely on the same was at the time of leading evidence in trial. “The US-based firm had no locus standi (standing or role) to give an opinion without permission of the court,” the affidavit said.
The police said a present petition is filed to cause delay in the trial since cognizance of the chargesheet has already been taken by the trial court.
Earlier, the NIA which took over the probe in January 2020 opposed Wilson’s plea along with co-accused Shoma Sen’s petition seeking similar reliefs, by “stoutly” denying the allegations and stated in its affidavit the allegations levelled by petitioners against the central probe agency of “planting documents in his laptop” were “uncalled for”.
The high court will hear Wilson and Sen’s pleas next on July 26.
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