The National Investigation Agency (NIA) recently informed the Bombay High Court that it would hand over to the accused, the clone copies of the alleged incriminating electronic evidence, the agency has relied upon in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case. The central agency, however, raised an objection to the interim relief of staying the trial in the special court, as sought by activists Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha.
The NIA filed it's affidavit before a bench led by Justice Nitin Jamdar hearing petitions filed by Bharadwaj and Navlakha seeking clone copies of the electronic evidence, the agency has relied upon.
In its affidavit, the NIA also denied the contention of the accused that the cloned copies were tampered and that the same would be examined by the experts of city's Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL). It also denied that five of its reports are yet to be received.
Advocate You Chaudhary for the accused had argued that unless the clone copies are handed over, the trial court shouldn't frame charges against his clients and other accused in the case. He had argued that denying the copies would violate their fundamental right to life and liberty and a fair trial. He had accordingly sought to stay the trial before the special court.
Opposing the plea, the NIA in it's affidavit said, "The appeal praying for clone copies of electronic evidence under Section 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.”
NIA further said that it has already supplied the hard copies/printed certified copies of all the relied upon documents and that allegations of vulnerability to tampering and manipulation are “fanciful submissions”.
“Thus, the supply of a few pending electronic documents which are already relied on against the accused cannot be an alleged non-curable violation of fundamental rights. The accused are only mixing up facts to confuse this court to frustrate the trial with an ulterior motive," the affidavit stated.
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