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Elgar Parishad case: Rona Wilson’s accusations of documents being planted against him uncalled for, NIA tells Bombay HC

The Central agency also said that the report of the US-based consultancy was not part of the chargesheet filed against him and therefore can only be raised during trial.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: May 1, 2021 7:34:39 pm
File photo of Rona Wilson.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) opposed the plea filed by Rona Wilson, one of the accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, before the Bombay High Court seeking the chargesheet filed against him to be quashed.

The NIA said the allegations levelled by Wilson against the central probe agency of “planting documents in his laptop” were “uncalled for”.

The Central agency also said the report of the US-based consultancy was not part of the chargesheet filed against him and therefore, it can only be raised during trial and cannot be relied upon by the petitioner while submitting a petition before the high court.

The NIA filed an affidavit in reply to Wilson’s writ petition filed in February, which referred to a report by Arsenal Consulting, a US-based digital forensics consulting company. The report concluded that Wilson’s computer was “infected with a malware”, allegedly planted through an email, on June 13, 2016 — two years prior to his arrest on June 6, 2018.

The chargesheet, in which he and 15 other academicians and activists are named, accuses them of conspiring against the Central government.

Wilson’s petition said after learning that his hard disk contained malware, the petitioner, through his counsel, had approached the American Bar Association to help conduct an independent forensic analysis of the clone copy of the electronic device that was seized.

“I further stoutly deny the report of M/s Arsenal Consultancy and also the report of American Bar Association. I say that contention made in the petition regarding these facts are not admitted by me, they are disputed questions of fact and hence cannot be entertained in present writ petition,” the NIA affidavit filed through Vikram Khalate, superintendent of police, NIA, Mumbai Branch, said.

The NIA said Wilson himself is not sure of the person, who allegedly planted the documents and therefore, the entire petition is “vague” and cannot be considered by the high court.

Stating that all contentions raised by Wilson are “entirely” based on the US-based consultancy’s report, the affidavit added that the same does not form part of the chargesheet filed by the NIA and Pune Police.

It further argued that documents, which are not a part of the chargesheet, cannot be relied on by the petitioner and in case if Wilson wants to rely upon such a report and feels that he has a case, the only avenue available is using it during the trial.

On Wilson’s claim of the “incriminating” documents being planted for over 22 months prior to their seizure without his knowledge, the NIA said, “This means that the alleged attack has taken place even before the prosecuting agencies have come into the picture. This being the position, the contention of the petitioner that he is innocent and is framed into this by the prosecuting agency is self-defeating and incorrect.”

The Central agency added that while the trial is pending and the matter is sub-judice before the special NIA court in Mumbai, “Arsenal Consultancy had no locus to give such opinion without permission of the Court and whether the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act sanction against Wilson was justified or not can be decided during the trial”.

The high court is likely to hear Wilson’s plea on May 4.

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