Elgar Parishad case: Accused activists handed over fourth hard disk

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Published on Jan 27, 2020 11:07 PM IST
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PUNE A fourth hard disk was handed over to the accused arrested in the Elgar Parishad case on Monday.

The court also maintained that no official communication has been received about the central government’s decision to hand over the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Therefore, the case is slated for its next hearing on February 3, during which additional sessions judge SR Navander is slated to pass an order on the electronic document verification in the case.

The nine accused were first provided with two hard disks - 8TB and 2TB - each.

At the next hearing, the nine were provided with a third, 4TB hard disk.

The original hash values of the devices during seizure are a part of the chargesheet provided to the accused, according to assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Shivaji Pawar, who is investigating the case.

The hard disks contain cloned copies of the documents that were extracted by the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) from the devices of the accused activists, said ACP Pawar.

However, the accused have questioned the authenticity of the data provided to them.

According to ACP Pawar, the devices were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory immediately after seizure.

“On April 17, 2018, a search was conducted at the houses of five out of nine arrested accused. The seized devices were collected in the possession of a ‘muddemal’ (seizure) clerk and sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory in the condition they were in, immediately. After that, copies of the documents from the disks - almost like photocopies - were given to us by the FSL for investigation purpose,” said ACP Pawar.

“For Rona Wilson, the devices were sent to FSL on April 20, 2018, and copies were provided to the police on April 23, 2018. In the submission to the police, there is no mention of the hash value,” said advocate Jachak.

On Monday, multiple devices seized from the nine accused including pen drives, phones, laptops, among others were submitted in the court, according to advocate Gaurav Jachak who is representing Wilson.

EXPERT IIT PROF NOT CONVINCED WITH VERIFICATION

Supratik Chakraborty, a computer scientist and professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Powai, submitted an affidavit, voluntarily, to the court stating he is not convinced with the verification process that was held in the court on January 10.

”Given that the files may have hidden attributes and other metadata that can only be seen with specialised software; given that disks can contain malware that cannot be seen in Windows File Explorer; and given that it was not physically possible to check the contents of every folder and every file in the time available; I’m not convinced that the multi-terabyte data in the disks provided to the accused are indeed correct and true copies of the same volume of data provided in disks to the honourable court,” he wrote in his affidavit.

VV RAO TAKES ILL

All the accused, except Telugu poet P VV Rao, were present in the court on Monday. An officer entrusted with bringing the accused from jail to court and back said that the jail authorities have informed him, based on a doctor’s opinion, that the accused poet is not fit to travel. Rao, who is a few months shy of turning 80-years-old, has had multiple visits to the hospital and is known to have heart issues.

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