Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh appearing for the investigating agency said that NIA has filed an affidavit in reply to the petition filed by Wilson but needed time to file a reply to Sen’s petition.
Indira Jaising appearing for Wilson, however, asked a pertinent question during the hearing on Tuesday. Jaising said that the petitions questioned the sanction granted by the Maharashtra government on November 14, 2018. “Either, he (Singh)speaks for the Maharashtra government as well or Maharashtra government will have to come before the court. We have made them party to the petition.”
Singh said, “We will certainly be defending the sanction as well. We will be arguing that as well.”
However, Jaising pressed that there are very serious allegations made against the investigating officer of Pune Police who had investigated the case between 2018 and 2020 before the case was transferred to the NIA by the petitioners.
Jaising pointed out that the allegation is that someone planted documents in his computer with the use of malware. “The forensic laboratory was asked this question and there is no reply to that question. There are very serious allegations of tampering of evidence and someone has to answer to that. The allegation is that the investigating officer suppressed information from the sanctioning authority,” said Jaising.
The court asked the Maharashtra government to reply to the allegations in the petition and kept the case for further hearing on June 16. Advocate Anand Grover appearing for Sen sought similar replies to be filed by the Maharashtra government to her petition too.
Before the hearing came to a close for the day, Jaising said that the court might also need the assistant of computer experts while hearing the case. She said, “It is for the first time that something like this, as to what is the meaning of secured electronic evidence will be coming up for hearing.”
Wilson had finished his M. Phil from JNU, Delhi and was in the process of pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Surrey or the University of Leicester, England. Both universities had accepted his Ph.D. proposal, and he was in the process of applying for a scholarship in 2018 when he was arrested. Wilson has taken support of an American company’s report to say, “the incriminating documents relied upon by the prosecution have been planted in the petitioner’s electronic devices to incriminate him and the co-accused.”
Sen was a Senior Professor and the Head of the English Department at the Nagpur University, and just a few weeks away from retirement when she was arrested on June 6, 2018. Sen’s petition filed through advocate Rahul Arote says, “Not only did the Prosecution and the Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Pune fail to examine the electronic evidence adequately to establish authenticity and reliability, but the FSL report on the electronic evidence also did not contain any response to the direct question from the Investigating Officer (“IO”) on whether there was any indication of tampering with the evidence.”