Updated: July 8, 2021 9:56:49 am
A DIGITAL forensic expert’s cross-examination in the case of the couple, Arun Bhelke and Kanchan Nanaware, alleged to have Maoist links, was completed on Tuesday. Ashish Duraphe did the analysis of digital material seized from the accused, who were booked by the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) for alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist.
Duraphe deposed as a witness before special judge S R Navandar. Defence counsel Rahul Deshmukh questioned Duraphe over the procedures followed for obtaining hash values of original digital data seized from the accused.
Now working for a private establishment, Duraphe was a “scientific officer” at the Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Mumbai, when he did the forensic analysis of the digital data in this case. The defence lawyer gave a demonstration before the court by connecting a pen drive to the laptop and got the hash values of the digital data (pen drive) using a software. The lawyer said hash value was generated prior to imaging.
Duraphe said he was unaware of the software used by the defence lawyer and explained the procedure he had followed, using another software for generating hash values of the digital data seized from the accused.
Duraphe also said it was mandatory to not use original data for the purpose of analysis. He said image files of the original data were generated using a software and could then be taken for analysis. He added that it had been verified that the original data and forensic images were the same.
Deshmukh said hash values of the original digital data were not mentioned separately in the report submitted by Duraphe. He said the hash values mentioned were of forensic images and claimed that Duraphe had submitted a biased and false report. Duraphe denied the claims.
Bhelke and Nanaware, both from Chandrapur district, were arrested from Pune in September 2014 for allegedly being active members of the CPI-Maoist. The ATS alleged the couple had worked in cities like Pune and Mumbai, using different aliases, and tried indoctrinating urban youths towards the Maoist group. They were charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.