rona wilson

Activist Rona Wilson’s computer was compromised for over 22 months before the Pune Police raided his home in New Delhi and arrested him as co-accused in Bhima Koregaon violence, claimed the Massachusetts-based digital forensics firm Arsenal Digital.

The firm in its report said that the 10 letters used first by Pune Police and later the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as the base of their evidence against the activists accused in the case were planted in Wilson’s by hackers via malicious software or Malware. Attaching the digital forensic report of Arsenal, Rona Wilson’s lawyer Sudeep Pasbola on Wednesday filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking dismissal of the case against his client in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence.

Among these was a letter that the police claimed Wilson had written to a Maoist militant, discussing the need for guns and ammunition as part of an intricate Maoist conspiracy, and even urging the banned group to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The report found the letters had been planted in a hidden folder on Wilson’s laptop.

Arsenal has been retained by the defense team for Rona Jacob Wilson to analyze electronic evidence seized from his home by the Pune police department on April 17, 2018.

“It should be noted that this is one of the most serious cases involving evidence tampering that Arsenal has ever encountered, based on various metrics which include the vast timespan between the delivery of the first and last incriminating documents. Wilson’s computer was compromised on June 13, 2016, after a series of suspicious emails with someone using Varavara Rao’s email account,” the report said.

Varavara Rao is one of Wilson’s co-defendants in the Bhima Koregaon case.

“Arsenal has found no evidence which would suggest that the top ten most important documents used in the prosecution against Wilson (“the top ten documents”15) were ever interacted with in any legitimate way on Wilson’s computer. More particularly, there is no evidence that would suggest any of the top ten documents, or the hidden folder they were contained in, were ever opened,” the report added.

The report did not identify the perpetrator of the cyberattack, but it noted that Wilson was not the only victim. The same attacker deployed some of the same servers and IP addresses to target other accused in the case over a period of four years, it stated. The accused in other “high-profile Indian cases” were also targeted, the report said.

Rona Wilson is the public relations secretary for the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners. He was at the forefront of the struggle to release SAR Geelani in the 2001 Parliament attack case. Pune Police had raided his home in April 2018, and he was arrested on June 6, 2018.

16 accused have been suffering in custody, being denied bail repeatedly, most notably the sick and the elderly among them such as poet Dr. Varavara Rao and Jesuit Priest and Adivasi rights activist Fr. Stan Swamy.


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