Following the direction of a special court in Pune, defence lawyers Monday submitted a list of four cyber “experts” for verification of the copies of the seized data handed over by prosecution to the people arrested in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case.
The four experts include advocate Gaurav Jachak, IT expert Supratik Chakraborty and lawyers Surendra Gadling and Arun Ferriera, who were arrested in the case.
The accused had expressed doubts after they were handed over copies of the seized data by the prosecution earlier. Subsequently, the court had allowed the defence lawyers to appoint an outside expert for verification of the data.
During the January 1 hearing, defence lawyers had sought more time from the court for appointing such experts. Court had granted 10 days’ time and said, whether the experts were appointed or not, charges would be framed after the time lapsed.
After advocate Jachak submitted the list of four “experts” before special judge S R Navandar, the court Monday asked them to be present before it on January 21 for verification of the seized data.
So far, police have booked 23 people in the case, of whom nine have been arrested, under various sections of Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). During searches, police had reportedly recovered huge data from computers and electronic devices of the accused. This data, police claimed, included crucial evidence regarding alleged links of the accused with the banned CPI-Maoist.
In November last year, the prosecution had cloned copies of this data in two hard disks and given them to three accused. Later, cloned copies were also given to six more accused. On Monday, Pune City Police handed over more data to each of the accused in sealed hard disks.
Last month, police had filed “draft charges” against 19 persons in the Elgaar Parishad case. It stated that the accused had arranged the Elgaar Parishad through the “frontal” organisation KKM, under the “Bhima Koregaon Shauryadin Prerna Abhiyaan” for “creating communal disharmony, enact provocative songs, short plays, dance, distribute books and circulate printed Naxal literature to exploit the communal sentiments of Dalits and other classes across the state and provoke them in the name of caste in order to create violence, instability and chaos in the district of Pune, at various places, including Bhima Koregaon, and in the state of Maharashtra”.
Police also claimed that investigation in the case expanded beyond Elgaar Parishad to include various alleged activities of the accused, like recruitment, funding and arms procurement as per the instructions of banned CPI-Maoist.