Senior Retired Police Officers Say Cyber Hacking Operations Revealed in Bhima Koregaon Case and Pegasus Attack Have Serious Implications
By Family and Friends of BK16
Senior Retired Police Officers Say Cyber Hacking Operations Revealed in Bhima Koregaon Case and Pegasus Attack Have Serious Implications for Police Functioning, Rule of Law
“[Such practices] give a very wrong message to the police leaders” – Julio Ribeiro, retired DGP, Punjab and Gujarat
On a day when the Supreme Court heard petitions against the government’s refusal to inquire into the use of Pegasus spyware, three senior retired police officers addressed an online press conference raising serious concerns about the impact of surveillance and evidence planting. In the wake of clear proof of evidence planting emerging in the Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad cases, as well as the ongoing Pegasus revelations, Julio Ribeiro (former DGP, Punjab), Vikash Narain Rai (former DGP, Haryana) and SR Darapuri (former IG Police, Uttar Pradesh), said such revelations have serious implications for the rule of law and for the functioning of the country’s police. They criticised the government’s failure to investigate these crimes, and also called for the release of those arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case.
In a discussion moderated by Delhi University professor Dr. Apoorvanand, the speakers noted that the government’s reaction to the reports of the Boston based computer forensics firm Arsenal Consulting raise several serious questions. In a series of three reports, the firm, renowned for its expertise in cyber-investigation, has found that letters used as key evidence against the Bhima Koregaon accused (see below for background) were planted on the computers of Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling, and in fact these files had never been opened or interacted with by the accused. In response to a court case filed by Rona Wilson and Dr. Shoma Sen, the National Investigation Agency has simply refused to respond to the reports and is trying to argue that they should be ignored.
In the press conference, Julio Ribeiro stated that such practices “give a very wrong message to the police leaders. If the political authorities condone it or encourage it, the message reaches those who are interested only in their careers, and not in what they were recruited for – to be a part of the judicial system and to dispense justice.” He also noted that the continued jailing of the Bhima Koregaon accused “is total injustice… these people have been kept in jail without a trial because of the mischief of the UAPA [Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act].”
Vikash Narain Rai pointed out that the “planting of evidence is an outright crime. Anyone, whether police or IB [Intelligence Bureau] planting evidence is a criminal…[in this case] the suspicion becomes stronger because despite media hue and cry, NIA is not clearing it out.” He also noted that the Maharashtra state police should also be held to account for their role.
SR Darapuri noted “The government has failed to prove it followed the legal process for using spying software. It is unjustified and illegal. Such illegal spying should be a public outrage and requires an immediate high-level inquiry.”
Minal Gadling, of the Bhima Koregaon Friends and Family group, separately thanked the police officers for their participation in the press conference and said, “Father Stan is dead. They
planted evidence on my husband’s computer. They attacked my phone using Pegasus. The Arsenal reports have shown that all the so-called evidence has been planted on the computers of the accused. With all the so-called evidence shown to have been fabricated, there is nothing left in the case. So, who will take responsibility for every additional day that the accused have to spend in jail?”
Family and Friends of BK16
Pegasus Findings: Former Top Cops Call For Relook at Case Against Elgar Parishad 16
The Wire / by Ismat Ara
‘Whether or not the Pegasus software was used to plant fake evidence in the accused devices should be thoroughly investigated.’
Three senior retired top police officers on August 5 condemned the findings of the Pegasus Project on the possible and confirmed surveillance of several journalists, social activists, politicians and others.
They also said that the exposé has revealed that the grounds on which the 16 academics, lawyers and activists were arrested in the Elgar Parishad case could be false.
Pegasus attack has serious implications for rule of law, say senior retired police officers
The Hindu / by Special Correspondent
Julio Ribeiro, Vikash Narain Rai, S.R. Darapuri voice concern on the impact of surveillance and planting of evidence
Cyber-hacking revealed in the Bhima Koregaon case by Boston-based computer forensics firm Arsenal Consultancy shows that the Pegasus spyware attack can have serious implications for police functioning and the rule of law, senior retired police officers said.