In a setback to the prosecution in the Elgaar Parishad case, a special court in Pune on Friday allowed the plea by the accused, who had sought copies of the digital data purportedly seized from them, and forms the basis for the Pune City Police case against them.
Following the order, the defence lawyers filed a fresh application seeking default bail for all accused, contesting that without the data, the two chargesheets filed earlier against the accused were ‘incomplete”.
While only two of the nine people arrested in connection with the case so far — Arun Ferriera and Surendra Gadling — had sought copies of the data, the court of Special Judge K D Vadane ordered that all the accused be given the copies. The court also said that copies of the digital data should be made with the help of a forensic expert and given to the accused and an extra copy should be made for the “persual of the court”.
In his order, Special Judge K D Vadane said, “Clause 5 of section 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that in case, where proceeding has been instituted on the police report, Magistrate shall without delay furnish to the accused, free of cost copies of any other documents or relevant extract thereof forwarded to the Magistrate with police report.”
Directing the Nazir of the Court (the court superintendent), the court said, “Nazir of District Court is hereby directed to give notice to investigating officer as well as accused persons, and their respective advocates, and in their presence, with the help of FSL expert, prepare copies of electronic devices filed by the investigating officer in the court, and same will be provided to the accused. Nazir is hereby further directed that while preparing copies of electronic devices, one extra copy also be prepared, and same will be kept in sealed condition for perusal of this court. Nazir is hereby further directed that at the time of taking of electronic devices, video shooting be taken and panchnama be also prepared, in respect of entire proceeding done by him, and submit report.”