Evidence planted in Koregaon Bhima case: Report

Koregaon Bhima Case | Evidence planted on Rona Wilson’s laptop: Report

Delhi-based Wilson is the public relations secretary of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners and is currently in jail

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

More than three years after the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima incident, an independent investigation by a United States digital forensics firm has found that the incriminating letters that are part of the evidence were actually planted on the laptop of one of the accused Rona Wilson.

The investigation was undertaken by Massachusetts-based Arsenal Consulting after Wilson’s defence team approached them.

Delhi-based Wilson is the public relations secretary of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners and is currently in jail.

The case was initially investigated by the Pune Police, however, now it has been taken over by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

According to the charge-sheet, Wilson’s laptop contained a letter that reveals a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and overthrow the elected government in the country.

The executive summary of the report dated 8 February 2021, states: “Arsenal’s analysis in the case has revealed that Rona Wilson’s computer was compromised for just over 22 months. The attacker responsible for compromising Wilson’s computer had extensive resources (including time) and it is obvious that their primary goals were surveillance and incriminating document delivery.”

It further states that Arsenal has connected the same attacker to a significant malware infrastructure which has been deployed over the course of approximately four years to not only attack and compromise Wilson’s computer for 22 months, but to an attack of his co-defendants in the Bhima Koregaon case and defendants in other high-profile Indian cases as well.

“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,” it said.

In a brief statement on Twitter, Arsenal President Mark Spencer said: “My team had worked relentlessly on the massive volume of electronic data provided to us in the Bhima Koregaon case, and I believe we have set an extremely high bar for the practice of digital forensics in future. There have been times during my team’s analysis that I have been in awe of their ability to succeed where others failed.”

Detailing the compromise, the report states that Wilson’s computer was compromised on 13 June 2016 after a series of suspicious emails with someone using Varavara Rao’s email account.

When Wilson’s counsel Sudeep Pasbola was contacted by DH, he said: “I don’t have the document with me....I cannot comment.” However, Wilson has submitted a plea seeking charges to be dropped on the basis of this report through a different lawyer.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition and ex-Chief Devendra Fadnavis said: “I don’t know about this (document)....but as far as the case against ‘urban Naxals’ (in the Koregaon Bhima case) we have clinching evidence. Twice the Supreme Court has rejected bail (to accused)...I cannot speak further as the case is sub-judice.”