The Madhya Pradesh government has informed the High Court that the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Hyderabad, has sought seven to eight months’ time to complete analysis of the video and audio files and other digital evidence connected with the ‘honey trap case’, which came to light in September.
While expressing displeasure over frequent reconstitution of the special investigation team (SIT) probing the case, a division bench of Justices S C Sharma and Shailendra Shukla had in October asked the state government to send the entire electronic evidence to CFSL and get a report from an expert.
The evidence was seized by the police after raiding residences of five women accused in Bhopal. The police had said hundreds of video and audio clips, chats and text messages were seized from electronic devices used by the accused.
The High Court is hearing petitions seeking a CBI inquiry into the case, which allegedly involves politicians, bureaucrats and other government officials. Many of them were allegedly blackmailed for money or government contracts against threat to release their audio clips and videos in compromising positions with the accused.
The five women and a driver have been arrested in connection with the case so far.
Advocate General Shashank Shekhar told the court that the government will make all possible attempts to ensure that the CFSL report is received at an early date.
The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on February 10.
The court directed that a hard disk submitted by advocate Manohar Dalal should be handed over to Senior Superintendent of Police Ruchi Vardhan Misra. The hard disk was given to Dalal by Jitu Soni, editor and owner of ‘Sanjha Lokswami’, the Indore-based eveninger that published a series of reports, presumably from material sourced from the hard drive.
The disk will also be sent to the CFSL.
While hearing another plea, the court asked the SIT to submit a progress report in the investigation in four weeks.
While submitting the disk, Dalal told the court that Soni had sought the evidence for it to remain safe in the custody of the court or it could be misused.
After he published the last three reports, Indore police cracked down on the newspaper and business establishments owned by Soni, who remains at large.