Defence lawyers in the Elgaar Parishad case on Thursday requested the court that the process of giving the copies of the seized digital data be done on a day-to-day basis. The defence told the court that till now, only three out of over 200 hard disks have been handed over to accused in two months since the court order.
A special court in Pune had on May 17 allowed the plea by the accused seeking copies of the digital data seized from them, which forms the basis of the chargesheet filed by the Pune City Police against them.
State bearing expenses of copying data
The expenses for providing the copies of the seized data to the accused is being borne by the state government. The data is being given in hard disks of one terrabyte memory size. In its May 17 order allowing the transfer of data, the court had said that the process of transfer be videographed, a panchnama of each process be done and a status report be submitted to the court.
In its May 17 order, the court had directed that copies of the electronic devices seized by the investigating team be made and provided to the accused. According to officials, each of the nine accused, currently in judicial custody, is to be given a set of 23 hard disks. Of the 207 hard disks to be given to the accused, the process of copying for only three is complete.
Defence lawyers Rohan Nahar and Siddharth Patil along with accused Surendra Gadling, who is representing himself, requested to the court that the process of copying the data should be done on a day-to-day basis. Additional Sessions Judge Ravindra M Pande asked the defence lawyers to file a formal application and has also sought the say from the prosecution and the FSL. The hearing on the application is scheduled on July 29.
Following the order on May 17, the defence lawyers had filed an application seeking default bail for all accused, contesting that without the data, the two chargesheets filed earlier against the accused were “incomplete”. The bail application is pending before the court.
The defence lawyers have also filed another default bail application before the magistrate, arguing that the procedure of filing the chargesheet before a magistrate court and then transferring it to the sessions court was not followed and instead the chargesheet was directly filed in a sessions court. The court of Judicial Magistrate First Class PS Jondhale has scheduled the hearing on the said application on July 22, when the say of prosecution and investigating officer will be heard.
The Pune City Police has so far booked 23 persons in connection with the case and alleged that all of them are members of the CPI-Maoist. Police have alleged that the Elgaar Parishad, a one-day conference held in Shaniwar Wada on December 31, 2017, was organised with the help of Maoists. The people arrested in connection with the case last year are prominent activists and lawyers, and all of them have been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
For the hearing on Thursday, all the arrested accused — Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Gadling, Rona Wilson, P Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferriera and Vernon Gonsalves — who are currently lodged in the Yerawada Central jail, were produced before the court.