Bhima-Koregaon case: Vernon Gonsalves cites Arsenal report to seek discharge

Accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, Vernon Gonsalves has sought a clean chit and cited the US forensics firm Arsenal Consulting’s report showing that incriminating evidence was planted on devices of the accused.

Bhavna UchilUpdated: Thursday, January 05, 2023, 05:21 AM IST
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PTI

Mumbai: Accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, Vernon Gonsalves has sought a clean chit and cited the US forensics firm Arsenal Consulting’s report showing that incriminating evidence was planted on devices of the accused. The electronic evidence forms the foundation of the prosecution’s case. He has claimed that it’s dubious and has called into question the whole basis of the case. 

Arsenal’s earlier report showed that the computer of co-accused Rona Wilson was infected with malware and compromised for 22 months from June 2016. Its subsequent reports have shown that the computers of co-accused Surendra Gadling and now deceased Stan Swamy and were also similarly exposed to malware. 

Mr Gonsalves’s plea said that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has relied so far on 750 seized electronic storage devices. Referring to the Arsenal report, it said that forensic analysis has disclosed that incriminating records shown on some of the accused were planted on their computer without their knowledge.

Further, his plea said that the US firm’s report shows there was tampering of Rona Wilson’s electronic devices after their seizure, which means the seals were broken. The incriminating evidence seized was used against most accused in the case.

His plea stated that it raises the question of the dubiousness of electronic records seized from all accused. It pointed out that the agency’s investigating officer had written to the government forensic science laboratory regarding the tampering and malware, and the laboratory hasn’t certified that there was no tampering or malware. 

Referring to the US firm’s report that found that lawyer and co-accused Surendra Gadling’s computer was also similarly compromised, it said a document concerning him recovered from Mr Gadling’s device. The document averred that Mr Gonsalves is involved in recruitment for the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). His plea said that the firm’s report has exposed that the document was planted on his computer through remote access malware.

The activist contended that he was vindictively arrested and implicated in the case after he wrote an article along with co-accused Arun Ferreira, which was critical of the investigation of the case. The arrest was to silence him, he contended.

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