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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Mumbai: NIA opposes Shoma Sen’s plea seeking quashing of charges against her

The pleas cited in support of the report of a US-based digital consultant that opined the “incriminating evidence” found by investigators in the accused laptop were “planted”.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: June 18, 2021 1:24:31 am
Professor Shoma Sen. (File)

THE NIA on Thursday opposed the plea filed by professor Shoma Sen, one of the accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, before the Bombay High Court seeking the chargesheet filed against her to be quashed.

The court then adjourned the hearing on petitions by activist Rona Wilson and professor Shoma Sen, both accused, seeking quashing of the FIR and chargesheet filed against them.

The pleas cited in support of the report of a US-based digital consultant that opined the “incriminating evidence” found by investigators in the accused laptop were “planted”. The petitioners also challenged their prosecution under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

However, the agency in its reply to Sen’s petition said the report of the US-based consultancy as referred by the petitioner was not part of the chargesheet filed against the accused and, therefore, it can only be raised during trial and cannot be relied upon by the petitioners while submitting a petition before the high court.

A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar was told by additional solicitor general Anil Singh, appearing for NIA, that it was opposing the reliefs sought by Sen and that it has filed the affidavit in reply to her plea arguing that Sen’s plea was a “tactic to delay” trial.

The chargesheet, in which 16 academicians and activists are named, accuses them of conspiring against the Centre.

“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 the present writ petition,” the NIA affidavit filed through Vikram Khalate, superintendent of police, NIA, Mumbai Branch, opposing Sen’s plea said. The petitioners also challenged the sanction granted by state government to prosecute them under the UAPA.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising submitted that evidence was not produced before the sanctioning authority and, therefore, the entire file pertaining to sanction is required to be placed before the court for its perusal. The bench said that “by way of the last opportunity,” the state is granted time to file its reply by July 9 and posted further hearing to July 13.

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