A special court on Monday rejected an application by lawyer and accused in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case, Arun Ferreira, in which he had claimed illegal interception by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of some emails, which it later used as evidence.
In his plea, Ferreira had sought that the agency furnish a copy of the order based on which it intercepted the emails between his co-accused Rona Wilson and another wanted accused.
The lawyer has in his application said that three emails were intercepted in July and August 2018 and that the material received from these is being used as evidence in the case. At the time, the investigation of the case was with the Pune police. His plea had said further that a provision in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act strictly lays down that such material cannot be used as evidence unless each accused has received a copy of the order of the competent authority under which the interception was directed. The provision stipulated that the order must be furnished at least 10 days before the trial. Ferreira had sought that the court direct the NIA to furnish a copy.
In its response to the plea, the agency denied that there was any interception at any point of time and said that no question arose of obtaining orders to carry out the same. It said that during the investigation, devices seized from Wilson were sent for forensic examination and, accordingly, the forensic lab found the email ID and its password. The agency further said that the investigating officer concerned had conducted the investigation in the presence of independent witnesses as well as a cyber expert and had downloaded the email communications. The investigating officer had made an audio-video recording of the procedure for collecting these emails, it was argued.
In a separate development, the court directed the Taloja prison authorities to hand over to lawyer and Ferreira’s co-accused Surendra Gadling his letters from his wife, which he complained were held back by it.