Published On: October 13, 2021 at 14:14 IST
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) asserted that it will provide the remaining copies of electronic evidence acquired in the Bhima Koregaon case, but the matter should proceed to Trial.
In response to pleas from lawyers Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha to stay proceedings or postpone the filing of charges until the cloned copies are provided, the NIA asserted that it has yet to obtain copies from the Forensic Science Laboratory.
The NIA’s Affidavit stated, “The appeal praying for clone copies of electronic evidence u/s 207 of CrPC is going to be supplied to the accused persons; however, the interim prayer for stay of the trial proceedings is strongly objected.”
The Affidavit further added, “Five pending clone copies in respect of the electronic devices of the appellant and her co-accused are yet to be received from the FSL.”
Even though co-accused Rona Wilson’s laptop was found to be infected with malware by a Forensic Consultancy Firm in the United States, the NIA stated that allegations of vulnerability to tampering and manipulation are “fanciful submissions”.
Bharadwaj and Navalakha sought the High Court’s permission after the NIA filed charges against the 15 accused before the Special NIA Court on August 9.
They were booked for offences under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The accused have appealed the Special Court’s order rejecting their plea for cloned copies of electronic evidence before the Trial.
Later, the petitioner contends that the authenticity of the evidence cannot be established on a digital copy alone and that a clone copy is necessary.