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NIA Denies Hacking Rona Wilson's Laptop in Bhima Koregaon Case; Says Arsenal Consulting Has no Locus to Give Opinion on Sub-Judice Matter

Bhima Koregaon Case Rona Wilson NIA

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has denied the report by digital forensic firm Arsenal Consulting, which presumed that implicating material including a conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister of India and defeat the public authority, was planted on Elgaar Parishad - Bhima Koregaon accused, researcher Rona Wilson's PC.

Last week, a division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale heard Wilson's petition and directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to enquire about the case.

A Petition was filed before Bombay high court by Wilson invoking article 226 of the Indian constitution and Section 482 of the CrPC demanding the formation of a Special Investigation Team to inquire into the planting of fabricating documents in his PC over a time of 22 months.

He has additionally looked for a stay on the procedures in the case and his immediate release, as interim relief.

What is an arrest report?

Arsenal Consulting, a digital forensic organization in the USA, stated that a cyber attacker had infected Wilson's PC with a malware called NetWire (accessible for $10 on the web), planted through an email on June 13, 2016, two years before his capture on June 6, 2018.

As per the report, the hacker at first did surveillance on his PC and later delivered 52 documents in a secret folder called 'Rbackup'. Also, the hacker added the last record simply a day before the police searched Wilson's home and seized his PC, on April 17, 2018.

Arsenal said in its report that The American Bar Association had requested Arsenal to enquire 10 out of 52 documents in 'Rbackup'. "It ought to be noticed that this is the most genuine case including proof altering that Arsenal has experienced, bases on different metrics that involve huge time between the delivery of the first and last implicating documents.

The report further shows that Wilson neither opened the folder in which most of the implicating material has been found nor it was opened on his PC legitimately.

NIA's affidavit claiming petition is not maintainable

The NIA claimed that Wilson's contentions were based on arsenal's report which was not present when the charge sheet was filed therefore bench should dismiss the petition.

It is a settled situation of law that documents which are not depended on in the charge sheet can't be defended by the Petitioner… and all things considered, there is no doubt of investigating the report of the M/s. Arsenal Consultancy and as such the whole contention of the Petitioner deserve to be dismissed," it was held.

The affidavit stated that,

There is no question of accepting the claims of the petitioner concerning the planting of false proof or fabricating of the proof. Going through the case the petitioner himself that the supposed assault has occurred even before the FIR was filed and as such, it is for the petitioner to explain that how this attack has occurred when the device was under the control of the petitioner and as such the petitioner can't blame other individual leave aside independent organizations like present Respondent”.

At this point, the agency stated that it has not acknowledged the report or Wilson's cases that his PC was hacked, and therefore his claims have become questioned inquiries which the court can't investigate at this stage.

In end, NIA claimed that Wilson can approach the court for discharge instead of demanding to quash the charge sheet.

Most of the accused in this case were neither named in the FIR over the violence nor present during the 2017 occasion.

The bench will now hear the plea on May 4, 2021.

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