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Will Provide Clone Copies Once Received From FSL, But Trial Shouldn’t Be Stayed: NIA

Will Provide Clone Copies Once Received From FSL, But Trial Shouldn’t Be Stayed: NIA

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

Four years after arrests in the Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad Case, the National Investigation Agency has said that it will provide remaining copies of electronic evidence seized, but the trial in the case should go on.
Responding to pleas by lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj and journalist Gautam Navlakha to stay the proceedings or defer framing of charges until the clones copies are not provided, NIA claims they have yet to receive copies from the Forensic Science Laboratory.
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Also read: After Pegasus and Arsenal Reports, Can Bhima Koregaon Case Still Stand? (The Quint; July 21, 2021)

Petition: Open an Investigation into NetWire attack on the computers of the Bhima Koregaon arrestees!

Petition: Open an Investigation into NetWire attack on the computers of the Bhima Koregaon arrestees!

India Civil Watch / By NET ALERT

To: Parliamentary Subcommittee on Information Technology
We, the undersigned, demand that the parliamentary subcommittee on Information Technology open an investigation into the NetWire attack on the computers of the Bhima-Koregaon arrestees. There is overwhelming evidence that a malware attack took place. One of the world’s leading digital forensic investigation agencies, Arsenal Consulting, has conducted a thorough investigation and brought to light crucial evidence confirming the attack and the planting of incriminating documents on the hard drives of the Bhima-Koregaon arrestees. Independent experts have verified Arsenal’s findings.
Read more /sign petition

India Must Stop Criminalising the Defence of Human Rights: UN Special Rapporteur

India Must Stop Criminalising the Defence of Human Rights: UN Special Rapporteur


Drawing by Arun Ferreira

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

Mary Lawlor speaks to The Wire about the situation of human rights defenders in the country, the use of repressive laws by the government and more.
On May 1, 2020, Mary Lawlor, a Dublin-based human rights expert with over four decades of experience engaging in human rights work, took up the mandate of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (HRDs) at the United Nations. Along with her work globally, Lawlor has been closely following the deteriorating human rights conditions in India and feels the country has repeatedly failed to protect the rights and interests of HRDs in the country.
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Also read: Pegasus Reports Highlight Need for Better Regulation of Spyware: UN Rights Chief (The Wire, Aug 20)

The unravelling of a conspiracy: were the 16 charged with plotting to kill India’s prime minister framed?

The unravelling of a conspiracy: were the 16 charged with plotting to kill India’s prime minister framed?

The Guardian / by Siddhartha Deb

In 2018, Indian police claimed to have uncovered a shocking plan to bring down the government. But there is mounting evidence that the initial conspiracy was a fiction – and the accused are victims of an elaborate plot
In April 2018, a large group of policemen arrived at the Delhi flat of Rona Wilson, a 47-year-old human rights activist. They had travelled from Pune in the western state of Maharashtra, and appeared, accompanied by Delhi police officials, at Wilson’s single-room flat at 6am. For the next eight hours, they scoured the modest premises, searching the files on Wilson’s laptop and rifling through his books.
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Pegasus Findings: Former Top Cops Call For Relook at Case Against Elgar Parishad / Press Note

Pegasus Findings: Former Top Cops Call For Relook at Case Against Elgar Parishad / Press Note

Senior Retired Police Officers Say Cyber Hacking Operations Revealed in Bhima Koregaon Case and Pegasus Attack Have Serious Implications

05/08/2021

By Family and Friends of BK16

PRESS NOTE
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.

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Forensic Science Laboratory’s analysis unreliable: Rona Wilson’s advocate

Forensic Science Laboratory’s analysis unreliable: Rona Wilson’s advocate

Forensic Science Laboratory’s analysis unreliable: Rona Wilson’s advocate

05/08/2021

Gauri Lankesh News / by Gauri Lankesh News Desk

Since FSL did not rule out the tampering of the laptop and remained silent on the issue, the counsel said that the laboratory’s analysis remains unreliable.
Rona Wilson’s counsel on Monday told the Bombay High court that Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) failed to respond to the question  ‘whether Wilson’s hard disk was tampered with or not?’ Since FSL did not rule out the tampering of the laptop and chose to remain silent on the issue, the council said that the laboratory’s analysis remains unreliable.
Based on the reports published by US cyber forensic firm Arsenal Consulting, Wilson had moved the Bombay High court stating that there was tampering of evidence and his laptop was infiltrated with malware. Wilson thus asked for the charges against him to be dropped.
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Claims of evidence planted in device can be raised during trial: NIA to Bombay HC in Rona Wilson and Shoma Sen plea

04/08/2021

Bar & Bench / by Neha Joshi

“Much water has flown. Bail pleas have been heard and disposed of, they have even gone up to Supreme Court. The case is now posted for framing of charge and they want to stay the trial,” ASG Anil Singh argued.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that the allegation by Bhima Koregaon accused Rona Wilson and Shoma Sen that evidence was planted in their electronic devices, is an argument which can be raised before the trial court.
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Forensic Sciences Lab Doesn’t Rule Out Tampering Of Rona Wilson’s Laptop: Jaising To Bombay HC

04/08/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

… Arguing Wilson’s quashing petition under Article 226, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising submitted that FSL’s failure to respond to a specific question put by the then Investigating officer of the case: ‘whether Wilson’s hard disk was tampered with or not?’, indicates that their analysis is not reliable…
On Wednesday, Jaising submitted that the seizure of Wilson’s laptop was not secure as the ‘hash values’ of the electronic devices were not calculated. Moreover, his laptop was operated during the search in 2018, which was impermissible.
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Bhima Koregoan case: NIA opposes quashing pleas of Rona Wilson

04/08/2021

Free Press Journal / by Urvi Mahajani

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has opposed the petitions filed by Rona Wilson, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, stating that it wasn’t maintainable because it entirely revolves around this theory of planting of evidence.
Wilson and other accused, Shoma Sen, have filed petitions in the HC seeking quashing of the case against them.
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Also read: Leaked Data Shows Surveillance Net in Elgar Parishad Case May Have Crossed a Line (The Wire / Jul 18, 2021)

Digital evidence in the shadow of Pegasus

Digital evidence in the shadow of Pegasus

The Leaflet / by Abhay Nevagi

The Supreme Court must take suo moto cognizance of the Pegasus spyware controversy and issue directions in respect of a certificate issued under section 65B of the Evidence Act, 1872. This certificate must verify that the investigative agencies have found no tampering on electronic devices that become their basis to arrest an accused, writes Abhay Nevagi.
… Consider these recent developments in India against the background of Pegasus and other hacking scandals. A petition in the Bhima-Koregaon case, Dr Shoma Sen vs State of Maharashtra, has raised serious concerns about the nature of the evidence against the accused, based on the findings of Arsenal, a reputed cyber-forensics agency based in the USA.
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Also read:
Pegasus Project: 161 Names Revealed By The Wire On Snoop List So Far (The Wire / Aug 4, 2021)
Leaked Data Shows Surveillance Net in Elgar Parishad Case May Have Crossed a Line (The Wire / Jul 18, 2021)

The SC’s decision to hear the Pegasus PIL is a momentous event for Indian democracy

The SC’s decision to hear the Pegasus PIL is a momentous event for Indian democracy

Free Press Journal / by FPJ Editorial

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the Pegasus PIL, listed for this week, is a momentous event for Indian democracy but no one seems to be overly excited about it. Emotions vary from pessimism to cautious optimism, much like the way the story itself was received.
… Pegasus and other such spyware is not only used for surveillance but also for data mining and planting evidence, which is the plaint of renowned tribal rights activists, academics and their associates arrested in the Bhima-Koregaon case.
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Wilson, Sen ask Bombay HC to decide what is ‘legal electronic evidence’ under criminal law

Wilson, Sen ask Bombay HC to decide what is ‘legal electronic evidence’ under criminal law

Wilson, Sen ask Bombay HC to decide what is ‘legal electronic evidence’ under criminal law

27/07/2021

The Indian Express / by Express News Service

Their counsels, senior advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, also told a division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar that there was no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event held on December 31, 2017, and the Koregaon Bhima violence that took place a day later.
Activists Rona Wilson and Shoma Sen, arrested in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case, urged the Bombay High Court on Monday to decide what was “legal electronic evidence” and stating the evidence relied upon by the probing agency was illegal as per law as it had been “planted”.
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Bhima Koregaon Violence Caused By Another Group: Jaising Argues Relying On Ex-CM’s Statements

26/07/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The caste violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018, was not caused by the “lawful” Elgar Parishad event held the previous day, and the case would not attract the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, researcher Rona Wilson told the Bombay High Court.
Senior Advocate Indira Jaising for Wilson submitted that she would be relying on two statements made by then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
… On Monday, a bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar began physical hearings in Wilson and professor Shoma Sen’s petitions under section 482 of the CrPC, Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, challenging the sanction to prosecute them under the UA(P) Act.
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Also read: Bhima Koregaon Case: Where Are The Hindutva Leaders Accused of Violence? (The Quint, July 12, 2021)

After Pegasus and Arsenal Reports, Can Bhima Koregaon Case Still Stand?

After Pegasus and Arsenal Reports, Can Bhima Koregaon Case Still Stand?

The Quint / by Anand Venkatanarayanan

An expert decodes Arsenal report—on planting evidence in activists’ devices—& its significance after Pegasus leaks.
In the light of Pegasus leaks, suggesting that Indian government used a spyware to snoop on politicians, constitutional appointees, journalists, and activists, the Bhima Koregaon case deserves fresh and sharp attention.
The Bhima Koregaon case (BKC) is a unique case in many aspects, but one aspect stands out – the planting of evidence through the use of malware as detailed by the Arsenal reports (Report one, two, three).
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Also read: Leaked Data Shows Surveillance Net in Elgar Parishad Case May Have Crossed a Line (The Wire, July 18, 2021)