The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in its reply to Bombay High Court has stated that Rona Wilson’s writ petition “deserves to be dismissed with cost”. The agency has raised issues related to the maintainability of Wilson’s plea that sought a stay on the proceedings against him and his co-accused in the Elgar Parishad case.
Activist Rona Wilson, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, had moved the Bombay High Court for a stay on proceedings against him following a US report claiming that fabricated documents were planted in his computer.
Vikram Khalate, Superintendent of Police, National Investigation Agency (NIA) had filed a 14-page reply before the Bombay High Court and said, “If at all the petitioner, Rona Wilson has any case, the same will be definitely looked into at the time of trial by the trial court and as such the present writ petition is not maintainable.”
NIA DISPUTES US FIRM REPORT
Rona Wilson’s computer has been the backbone of the Elgar Parishad case. Wilson has been behind bars for the last two years, along with other accused, including Telugu poet Varavara Rao, advocates Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira and others.
Rona Wilson had sought the help of a private firm ‘Arsenal Consulting’ based in Chelsea, Massachusetts in the US. Arsenal is a digital forensics consulting company that has been working in the field of digital forensics for law firms, corporations and government agencies since 2009. Wilson had cited the report which had stated that a malware was remotely installed in his computer from outside.
The NIA has disputed the Arsenal Consulting report and the American Bar Association report. Khalate’s affidavit states, “Since the contention made in the petition regarding the reports are not admitted by me, they are disputed questions of fact and hence, cannot be entertained in the present Writ Petition.”
Khalate’s affidavit states that the report on which Wilson is banking on, is not part of the chargesheets which are filed by the Pune police or the NIA. The agency has contended that since the document is not relied upon by the prosecution, the same cannot be relied upon by the accused in the case.
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NIA has submitted that Wilson has an alternative remedy of filing an application for discharge under Section 227 or 239 under the Code of Criminal Procedure Code.
“The petitioner (Wilson) has got an opportunity to prove all these documents at the time of the trial,” the affidavit states. NIA has further submitted that since the report does not form part of the chargesheet, if at all Wilson wants to rely upon the same, the only avenue available is at the time of leading evidence.
“If at all the petitioner (Wilson) has any case, the same will be definitely looked into at the time of trial by the trial court and as such the present writ petition is not maintainable.” NIA has stated.
NIA CLAIMS PLEA IS FILED TO CAUSE DELAY IN TRIAL
The central agency has alleged that the Special NIA Court had taken cognisance of the report and filing of the plea is only to cause delay in the process of trial. Wilson’s claim that someone framed him was not substantiated by an identity, says the affidavit.
The affidavit states that “The entire case is based on ‘ifs and buts’ and the petitioner (Wilson) himself is not sure as to who has allegedly attacked his computer if at all it has even happened.”
When the trial is pending and is subjudice before the trial court, Arsenal Consulting had no locus to give such an opinion without permission of the court, says the affidavit.
Rona Wilson had approached the high court seeking directions to appoint a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a retired Supreme Court or high court judge and consisting of experts in digital forensic analysis to probe the alleged planting of documents on his computer by using malware.
Till the pendency of the plea in high court, Wilson had sought a stay on the proceedings in the chargesheet pending before the Special NIA Court, and also prayed for his immediate release from detention.
This story first appeared on indiatoday.in