regular-article-logo Thursday, 21 September 2023

Probe plea to Droupadi Murmu in Koregaon case

Memorandum submitted in wake of latest findings by US-based digital forensic firm that alleged serious manoeuvring of evidence, especially in the electronic devices of Stan Swamy

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpur Published 22.12.22, 03:00 AM
The Shahid Stan Swamy Nyaya Morcha members agitate at the Albert Ekka square in Ranchi on Wednesday.

The Shahid Stan Swamy Nyaya Morcha members agitate at the Albert Ekka square in Ranchi on Wednesday. Manob Chowdhury

A Jharkhand delegation comprising human rights activists and political leaders on Wednesday submitted a memorandum addressed to President Droupadi Murmu through governor Ramesh Bais, seeking further investigation into the Bhima Koregaon case.

The memorandum was submitted in the wake of the latest findings by US-based digital forensic firm Arsenal Consulting that alleged serious manoeuvring of evidence, especially in the electronic devices of Stan Swamy, the accused human rights activist in the case.


The delegation under the banner of Shahid Stan Swamy Nyaya Morcha staged an agitation for nearly an hour at Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi on Wednesday before marching to the Raj Bhavan where they submitted the memorandum.

The NIA had accused 84-year-old Stan Swamy of being a member of the banned CPI (Maoist) and conspiring to overthrow the Indian government.

Swamy was arrested in the case in October 2020 from Bagaicha in Namkum near Ranchi and was lodged in a jail in Mumbai.

Suffering from Parkinson’s disease and several other ailments, he was shifted to a private hospital in May 2021, where he died following a cardiac arrest in July 2021, waiting for the trial in the case to begin. He had also contracted Covid-19 while in prison.

Despite his multiple ailments and requests to the courts to be allowed to stay with his own people, he was not granted medical bail.

“The Arsenal Consulting, in its recent report published in The Washington Post, states that digital evidence used to arrest Stan Swamy in the Bhima Koregaon case was planted into his computer’s hard drive.

This report follows previous reports which documented digital evidence planting on the devices of co-defendants Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling in the same case.

Forensic analysis has shown that the hackers who attacked Father Stan’s computer are the same as those who attacked Wilson and Gadling,” the memorandum states.

It says multiple findings link India to this hacking of human rights defenders’ electronic devices.

Cybersecurity firm Sentinel One has previously investigated this attacker and concluded that their “activity aligns sharply with Indian state interests”.

“The Arsenal report states: The attacker responsible for compromising Fr. Swamy’s computer had extensive resources (including time) and it is obvious that their primary goals were surveillance and incriminating document delivery,” the memorandum adds.

“In June 2022, WIRED magazine reported that Sentinel One had found evidence linking the Pune police to the hackers. Forensic findings also indicate that hackers had advanced knowledge of the raid on Father Stan conducted by the Pune police. The report provides detailed evidence of hackers attempting to erase evidence of their activities on the night of June 11, 2019. This cannot be considered as a mere coincidence that the Pune police seized Father Stan’s computer the very next day, on June 12,” the memorandum states.

“Father Stan Swamy’sdeath in custody was roundly condemned worldwide,including in the British Parliament, by the US State Department, and the UN. The UN Working Group on ArbitraryDetentions agreed that FatherStan’s death in custody “willforever remain a stain on thehuman rights record of India.11 co-defendants in the Bhima-Koregaon Case are still inprison and Gautam Navlaka isunder house arrest,” it adds.

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