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.
Rona Wilson is a human rights activist-writer who is charged with the UAPA in relation to the Elgar Parishad incident. He was accused of having links with the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
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.
The activist has alleged that the NIA is relying on ten incriminating letters that were planted on his laptop as its major evidence. The letters, one of which includes an alleged plot to assassinate the Prime Minister and overthrow the government, were planted on his laptop through a 10$ malware called Netwire over a period of 22 months, he says.
Senior Advocate Indira Jaising who represents Wilson says his laptop was operated during the 2018 search operations which is not permissible. “The only evidence against the accused in the case are the letters recovered from Rona Wilson’s laptop. However, the documents are not reliable as they are not secure,” Jaising said.
Jaising says she would advance submissions on the legal procedure for search and seizure of electronic devices evidence and if the Arsenal report can be relied on when she argues on the maintainability of the petition.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh however states that the report cannot be looked into since it does not form a part of the charge sheet and that such a report cannot be brought to the court as it revolves around the theory of planting of evidence. He further added that all arguments advanced by Jaising should be made in the trial before the special NIA court.