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Tag: Rona Wilson

The 16 activists arrested in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case are victims of witch-hunt

The 16 activists arrested in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case are victims of witch-hunt

Frontline / by Anupama Katakam

The arrests and incarceration of 16 activists, known as the BK-16, on specious charges relating to the Bhima Koregaon violence case is part of the Central government’s systematic and methodical targeting of people who dissent and fight against oppression and for the causes of sections of society that a majoritarian government has no space for …
A look at the profile of each victim clearly indicates why the current regime feels threatened by their work.
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May Be An Irregularity, Not An Illegality: Maharashtra Govt On Special NIA Court Not Taking Cognizance Of Case

May Be An Irregularity, Not An Illegality: Maharashtra Govt On Special NIA Court Not Taking Cognizance Of Case

May Be An Irregularity, Not An Illegality: Maharashtra Govt On Special NIA Court Not Taking Cognizance Of Case

23/07/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The Maharashtra Government and the National Investigation Agency on Friday continued their arguments opposing Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad accused Sudha Bharadwaj’s default bail application.
The State submitted that in her entire petition Bharadwaj hasn’t averred at a single place that she was “denied justice” because a sessions court, and not a special court under the NIA Act, took cognisance of the chargesheet against her and and other accused on February 21, 2019.
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If Court is not empowered to take cognizance, does not mean proceedings can be set aside: NIA to Bombay High Court

23/07/2021

Bar & Bench / by Neha Joshi

An affidavit stating the same was filed before the High Court in the petition filed by eight accused in the Bhima Koregaon case challenging the order refusing bail.
Merely because a court is not empowered by law to take cognizance and yet does so in good faith does not mean that the proceedings should be set aside on that ground alone, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) submitted before the Bombay High Court in the Bhima Koregaon case.
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136 Names Revealed On Snoop List So Far / Indian activists jailed on terrorism charges were on list

136 Names Revealed On Snoop List So Far / Indian activists jailed on terrorism charges were on list

136 Names Revealed By The Wire On Snoop List So Far

23/07/2021

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Over the past few days, The Wire – in collaboration with 16 other media organisations – has been revealing the names of people who were either persons of interest or forensically identified as having been targeted by clients of the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.
Those on the list include heads of state, political figures, activists, students, lawyers and journalists, among others.
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Pegasus exposé raises unjust detention cry

20/07/2021

The Telegraph / by Pheroze L. Vincent

The leaked database showed that the mobile numbers of several accused were on a list of those selected for surveillance by an unidentified client of NSO.
The families of the Elgaar Parishad-Maoist links detainees and one of their lawyers have said the new revelations about targeted surveillance have vindicated their stand that the prolonged imprisonment of the 15 surviving accused is unjust.
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From Ambedkarites and Labour Activists to Umar Khalid and JNU Students, Snoop List Targets All

20/07/2021

The Wire / by Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta, Sukanya Shantha and Kabir Agarwal

Leaked list of potential surveillance targets indicates attempt to keep tabs on critics of government policy.
The telephone numbers of an anti-caste leader and several prominent activists are part of a leaked database accessed by the Pegasus Project which includes individuals confirmed to have been targeted with the Israel based NSO group’s spyware.
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Indian activists jailed on terrorism charges were on list with surveillance targets

20/07/2021

The Washington Post / by Joanna Slater and Niha Masih

The Bhima Koregaon activists were also victims of an unidentified hacker who planted evidence on their computers, recent reports found.
When the Indian authorities began arresting lawyers and human rights activists in 2018, Sudha Bharadwaj did what she had done for more than three decades wherever she saw injustice. She organized. She spoke out. She asked courts to uphold the law.
Later that year, the police arrested her, too.
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Cops used Pegasus in Koregaon Bhima case, says Digvijaya Singh

20/07/2021

Times of India / by Suchandana Gupta

Congress Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh on Monday told TOI TOI that Pegasus was used by police in the Koregaon Bhima case, and even his name had surfaced, but he couldn’t be implicated because he had stopped using the phone that was mentioned in the ‘Naxalite letter’.
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Phones of ministers, journalists, lawyers and activists tapped by Pegasus spyware. Indians should worry

19/07/2021

The Leaflet / by Ramesh Menon

In the days ahead, we will know more about the investigations as they will be released in parts. Clearly, there is going to be a stormy monsoon session in Parliament as opposition members will question the government’s role in the snooping scandal. These revelations, if true, bode dangerously for the health of our democracy, writes Ramesh Menon as he recaps what we know about the Pegasus hacking allegations so far.
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Govt Can Find Out Who Planted Documents, Says Cyber Expert

Govt Can Find Out Who Planted Documents, Says Cyber Expert

The Quint / by Poonam Agarwal

An attack of this nature requires intelligence, time and money, said Sandeep Shukla.
“It should be noted that this is one of the most serious cases involving evidence tampering that Arsenal has ever encountered…”
Excerpts from Arsenal Consulting forensic report
That’s what President Mark Spencer of Arsenal Consulting, the US-based forensic agency, said about the agency’s latest report that reveals that incriminating evidence was planted in the computer of Surendra Gadling, who was arrested under UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) for alleged links with banned CPI (Maoist) group in the Bhima Koregaon case.
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Also read: Explainer: Arsenal Report on Surendra Gadling (The Leaflet, June 7, 2021)

Can ‘Planted Malware’ Report Help the Accused in Court?

Can ‘Planted Malware’ Report Help the Accused in Court?

Can ‘Planted Malware’ Report Help the Accused in Court?

08/07/2021

The Quint / by Karan Tripathi

Bhima Koregaon accused can milk the Arsenal report to discredit the NIA’s entire case during the trial.
A day after the death of activist Father Stan Swamy, who had been under arrest in the Bhima Koregaon case under UAPA for alleged Maoist links, a report by Arsenal Consulting, an American forensic agency, has claimed that evidence was ‘planted’ on the computer of another activist, Surendra Gadling, another accused in the case, also currently under arrest.
The malware that targeted Gadling’s computer via emails also had several other Bhima-Koregaon accused, including Stan Swamy and Sudha Bhardwaj copied on the mails, Arsenal has claimed.
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Explainer: Arsenal Report on Surendra Gadling

06/07/2021

The Leaflet / by Nihalsing Rathod

In light of the recent revelation that the documents on Surendra Gadling’s computer, which has been used as evidence to arrest activists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the Bhima Koregaon case over the last three years were planted by hackers into the computer, Nihalsing Rathod explains what the report containing the revelation states, and answers questions that may cross one’s mind in light of this information.
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Surendra Gadling’s Computer Was Attacked, Incriminating Documents Planted: Arsenal Consulting

06/07/2021

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

Forensic digital investigations have raised serious questions about the Elgar Parishad investigation.
For over 20 months, lawyer and human rights defender Surendra Gadling’s computer was attacked and surveilled upon, and incriminating documents were planted on it. Gadling, one of the first people to be arrested among the 16 human rights activists, lawyers and academics in custody in the ongoing Elgar Parishad case, was cyber attacked since February 16, 2016 – two years before he was finally arrested on April 6, 2018. Fourteen significant documents, on the basis of which the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has held him in jail for over three years, were planted on his computer using a malware NetWire.
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Evidence found on a second Indian activist’s computer was planted, report says

06/07/2021

The Washington Post / by Niha Masih and Joanna Slater

The two activists were jailed in 2018 and accused of plotting an insurgency against the government. A new forensic report concludes they also shared something else: They were both victims of the same hacker who planted evidence on their computers.
The finding raises fresh doubts about a case that rights groups consider an effort to crack down on critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. More than a dozen activists have been imprisoned without trial under a stringent anti-terrorism law that rarely results in convictions.
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NDTV (July 6):
@OnReality_Check | “Indian government should name the attacker. We only analyse evidence put in our hands”: Mark G Spencer, President Arsenal Consulting, on #BhimaKoregaon case

en | 4:05min | 2021
Watch video

Cognizance Of Chargesheet Vitiated As Pune Judge Wasn’t Special Judge Under NIA Act? / 8 Accused Seek Bail

Cognizance Of Chargesheet Vitiated As Pune Judge Wasn’t Special Judge Under NIA Act? / 8 Accused Seek Bail

By LawBeat (July 15):
BombayHighCourt bench led by Justice SS Shinde to hear Lawyer-Activist Sudha Bharadwaj, accused in the #BhimaKoregaon – #ElgaParishad case seeking default bail contending that the trial judge was not authorised to take cognisance of the 2019 charge sheet against her.


Produce papers showing Pune judge was competent to pass orders, HC tells Maharashtra

08/07/2021

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

In a petition seeking default bail, activist Sudha Bharadwaj said that Sessions Judge KD Vadane was an additional judge and not a designated special judge.
The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government to produce documents to show that the judge who granted an extension to the Pune Police to file the chargesheet in the Bhima Koregaon violence case and took cognisance of it was authorised to do so, PTI reported.
… The court posted the matter for next hearing on July 15.
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Cognizance Of Bhima Koregaon Chargesheet Vitiated As Pune Judge Wasn’t Special Judge Under NIA Act? Bombay High Court To Examine

08/07/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The Bombay High Court on Monday said that the Court’s records were consistent with lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj’s RTI replies, according to which Additional Sessions Judge (Pune) Kishore Vadane was not appointed as a Special Judge under the NIA Act in 2018/2019.
“Record is the same as you had annexed under RTI,” Justice SS Shinde heading the division bench said at the beginning of the hearing.
The court also asked the State if it had anything additional to show that the judge was assigned the case back then.
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Judge who extended chargesheet deadline not special judge under NIA Act, reveals Sudha Bharadwaj’s lawyer

06/07/2021

The Free Press Journal / by Staff Reporter

Trade unionist, human rights lawyer and activist Sudha Bharadwaj through her advocate Yug Chaudhry claimed that the special judge, who extended the time to file chargesheet into the Bhima Koregaon violence case, and also took cognisance of the chargesheet, was not a special judge under the National Investigation Agency Act.
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Sudha Bharadwaj’s Bail Plea: Bombay High Court To Verify If Pune Sessions Judge Was Competent To Take Cognizance Of Chargesheet

06/07/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The Bombay High Court said it would verify with the Registry if Additional Sessions Judge Kishor Vadane was a Special Judge under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act in 2018/2019 and if he was authorised to take cognisance of the Pune police’s charge sheet against the accused in the Bhima Koregaon Elgar – Parishad Case.
A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar heard Bharadwaj’s plea seeking bail in default Under Sections 439, 482 and section 167(2)(a)(i) of the Criminal Procedure Code read with section 43 D(2)of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. She has challenged two orders of Judge KD Vadane.
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8 accused in Bhima Koregaon seek bail as judge who rejected bail was not authorised

06/07/2021

The Hindu / by Sonam Saigal

Eight accused in the Bhima Koregaon caste violence case moved the Bombay High Court on Tuesday seeking bail on the ground that the special judge at Pune who rejected their default bail was not authorised to do so. Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira filed the petition through advocate R. Sathyanarayanan.
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Also read: Bombay High Court Seeks Reply On Sudha Bharadwaj’s Plea For Default Bail In Bhima Koregaon Case (Live Law, June 2021)

NIA, govt asked to respond to Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen’s petition seeking SIT probe by July 1

NIA, govt asked to respond to Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen’s petition seeking SIT probe by July 1

NIA questions maintainability of plea by Prof Shoma Sen seeking quashing of charges

17/06/2021

The Leaflet / by Gahena Gambani

Earlier this year, the Bhima Koregaon case made international headlines, when The Washington Post reported that cybersecurity firm M/s Arsenal Consulting had analysed the laptops of some accused, and reached the conclusion that malware had been planted on the same, presumably with a view to frame the accused.
Soon after, Shoma Sen, an assistant professor and the head of the English Department at Nagpur University, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon matter, approached the Bombay High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution and Section 482 of the CrPC, praying for a quashing of the sanctions against her under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. A similar petition had also been filed by her co-accused, Rona Wilson.
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NIA, Maharashtra govt asked to respond to Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen’s petition seeking SIT probe by July 1

17/06/2021

FPJ / by Narsi Benwal

The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Nizamoodin Jamadar on Thursday adjourned the hearing in the petitions filed by rights activists Rona Wilson and Shoma Sen till July 13. The bench has granted a last chance to the National Investigation Agency and Maharashtra government to file its response to the petitions by June 1.
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Bhima Koregaon: Marking three years since the first arrest

Bhima Koregaon: Marking three years since the first arrest


Click to enlarge posters

The Leaflet / by Nihalsing B Rathod

Recalling the first set of arrests made in the questionable Bhima Koregaon violence case almost exactly three years ago, Nihalsing B Rathod, in this first of a three-part series, recollects the personal horrors of trying to track Surendra Gadling in the immediate aftermath of his arrest, details the events leading to the arrest of five more activists in August 2018, and explains how basic tenets of criminal law were violated by the Pune Police in making these arrests.

The morning of June 6, 2018, gave me a horrific memory that perhaps will never fade. Early in the morning, I received a phone call that police were at the house of Advocate Surendra Gadling again. The memory of the raid of April 17, 2018, was still fresh.
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NIA Denies Hacking Rona Wilson’s Laptop / Objects to entertaining petition based on Arsenal Report

NIA Denies Hacking Rona Wilson’s Laptop / Objects to entertaining petition based on Arsenal Report

NIA Denies Hacking Rona Wilson’s Laptop In Bhima Koregaon Case; Says Arsenal Consulting Has No Locus To Give Opinion Of Sub-Judice Matter

01/05/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has denied the report by digital forensics firm Arsenal Consulting, which concluded that incriminating material, including a conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister and overthrow the government, was planted on Elgaar Parishad – Bhima Koregaon accused, researcher Rona Wilson’s laptop.
The NIA made these claims in an affidavit to oppose interim relief to Wilson, stating his petition before the Bombay High Court was not maintainable.
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Rona Wilson can´t rely on Forensic Report by US firm to seek quashing of Case: NIA to Bombay High Court

01/05/2020

Bar & Bench / by Neha Joshi

The petitioner can rely upon the same only during the trial when evidence is led and not in a plea seeking quashing, the NIA submitted.
The forensic report by US firm, Arsenal Consulting cited by Bhima Koregaon accused Rona Wilson to claim innocence, is not part of the chargesheet and cannot, therefore, be relied upon by the accused to seek quashing of chargesheet, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has told the Bombay High Court.
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NIA objects to entertaining petition based on Arsenal Consulting Report

30/04/2021

The Leaflet / by Nihalsing B Rathod

THE Bhima Koregaon case came into the spotlight again when The Washington Post made a sensational revelation that the electronic evidence being used against the activists in the Bhima Koregaon case was planted. It relied on the report prepared by a digital forensics firm, M/s Arsenal Consulting, which was approached by the defence lawyer of one of the accused, Rona Wilson, for examining an electronic copy of his seized laptop.
Wilson, who has been an under-trial in the Bhima Koregaon case since June 6th, 2018, recently approached the Bombay High Court, invoking Article 226 of the Constitution of India, and Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, seeking the quashing of sanctions to prosecute him and others under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
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Also read: Why Sudhir Dhawale’s acquittal in a 2014 case of Naxal involvement is relevant to the Bhima Koregaon arrests (The Caravan, June 2018)

Telangana govt bans Revolutionary Writers Association, 15 other orgs

Telangana govt bans Revolutionary Writers Association, 15 other orgs

Siasat / by Yunus Y Lasania

The Telangana government on Friday banned 16 organisations, including the Revolutionary Writers Association, known as Virasam, claiming that these are frontal bodies of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and are engaged in “tactics” that “wage war against the state”. The order was passed by chief secretary Somesh Kumar, with effect from March 30 this year.
… The Government Order also clearly states that the organisations are also being banned for demanding the release of Prof. GN Sai Baba, Rona Wilson, and writer Vara Vara Rao (who is from Virasam), who are all currently in prison with regard to the Elgar Parishad case, on allegations of conspiring to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 
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Also read: Andhra govt, Centre ‘collude’ to repeat Bhima Koregaon type case against rights activists (Counterview, April 2021)