One of the prime accused in the sensitive Bhima-Koregaon case, Rona J. Wilson has moved the Bombay High Court demanding a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe fake evidences planted into his computer and dismissal of the case against him, here on Wednesday.
The plea has been filed through his lawyer R. Sathyanarayanan and comes in the wake of a report by a US-based digital forensic firm Arsenal Consulting which has said that a Wilson’s laptop was hacked and 10 letters planted in it prior to his arrest.
These letters were used by the Pune Police and later the National Investigation Agency as the basis of their evidence against Wilson and other activists arrested in the famous Bhima-Koregaon case.
Arsenal Consulting claimed that not only was Wilson’s computer ‘attacked and compromised’ from June 13, 2016 for over 22 months, but similar malware attacks were made on even other accused in other high-profile Indian cases.
The hacker, who has not been identified, had used the malware to create hidden folders where the 10 incriminating letters were sent using an advanced version of MS Word which was not available on Wilson’s laptop.
The US firm’s report further said that it found no evidence suggesting that Wilson ever interacted with the top 10 most important documents used to prosecute him, and said he had in fact never opened those documents.
While making the series of sensational arrests in nationwide raids during 2018, the Pune Police had contended that among other things, the accused were hatching a conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and overthrow the legitimately elected government.
When questioned on this, Bharatiya Janata Party Leader of Opposition, Devendra Fadnavis – who was Chief Minister at the relevant time – guardedly denied knowledge on this, but said that there was clinching evidence available on the ‘Urban Naxals’ case.
He said that the Supreme Court has declined them bail owing to the strong evidence but preferred further comments as the matter is sub-judice.
Wilson was among over two dozen accused nabbed from all over India for their alleged links with Maoist elements, for inflammatory speeches during the Bhima-Koregaon battle’s 200th anniversary on Jan. 1, 2018, which resulted in caste riots the following day which claimed at least one life.
They were charged with ‘waging war against the nation’, spread the ideology of the banned CPI (Maoist) groups, inciting caste conflicts and hatred in society, etc.
In Jan. 2020, the Bhima-Koregaon and the related Elgar Parishas cases were handed over by the BJP at the Centre to the NIA despite strong opposition by the newly-elected Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress.