Activist Rona Wilson, accused of inciting violence in Bhima Koregaon on January 1 2018, moved Bombay High Court on Wednesday, February 10, demanding the quashing of criminal proceedings against him.
The plea was filed in the wake of an American digital forensics consulting firm found that 'fabricated' evidence was planted in the gadgets, including a laptop and pen drive, which were seized from Wilson's residence in April 2018. Wilson was arrested and on the basis of that evidence two months later, reported Washington Post.
Dismissing the allegations and the claims made by the report, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) spokesperson Jaya Roy said: "The digital extracts which we have submitted in court along with the chargesheet were examined at RFSL (Regional Fore-nsic Science Laboratory, Pune), which shows no evidence of any malware in any laptop/device."
The plea filed by Wilson's lawyer Sudeep Pasbola also included a copy of a digital forensic report from Arsenal Consulting.
It also mentioned about the creating of a special investigation team to look into the electronic evidence and also the compensation for "wrongful detention".
Arsenal Consulting claimed that Wilson's computer was tampered with between 2016 and 17 April 2018, when electronic evidence was seized by the Pune Police on suspicion of his alleged links with the Bhima Koregaon violence.
The firm claimed that malware was installed in Wilson's computer on 13 June 2016, after someone using the email account of Varavara Rao, another accused in the case, sent a phishing mail to Wilson.
"A NetWire remote access trojan (RAT) was installed on Wilson's laptop once he clicked on what he thought was a mere Dropbox link", the firm said, adding that it allowed the attacker to conduct surveillance and plant incriminating documents.
Explaining what it termed as 'spear phishing', the forensic report explained how attackers send an email that looks like it is from a trustworthy source, convincing the target to click on attachments that ultimately allows for malware to be installed.
Analysing the forensic images received from the hard drive inside Wilson's computer, the report stated that the attacker forged documents into the thumb drive on 14 March 2018, and later created dummy folders containing dummy data.
"These incriminating documents were delivered to Wilson's computer by NetWire and no other means," the report stated.
"The essential evidence in the case is electronic evidence. There is no mention of arms or ammunition. The Arsenal report examined 10 of the letters and found that they were planted," Mihir Desai, one of the case lawyers said.
A senior counsel who represented Wilson said that the report of Arsenal Consulting is enough to prove why the FIR and chargesheet against Wilson and his co-accused should be quashed.