Bhima Koregaon: The phones will be sent to the investigation committee
The technical committee asked the NIA’s chief executive on January 30, 2022 to make arrangements for the cell phones of the defendants
A special court in Mumbai on Tuesday allowed an appeal by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to send the phones of seven defendants in the 2018 caste-based violence case Bhima Koregaon to the Supreme Court-appointed committee to investigate. Investigate Pegasus’ Unauthorized Surveillance Allegations.
On October 27, 2021, the Supreme Court had constituted a Technical Committee consisting of Prof. Naveen Chaudhary, Prof. P Prabhakaran and Prof. Ashwin Gumaste overseen by Justice RV Raveendran, a former Supreme Court Justice.
The Technical Committee requested the Director General of the NIA on January 30, 2022 to make arrangements for the cell phones of the defendants – Sudha Bharadwaj, Rona Wilson, Hany Babu, Shoma Sen, Anand Teltumbde, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao as he has been told at committee that their phones were allegedly infected with Pegasus spyware.
The NIA’s request states: “The committee will make the digital copies in the presence of the officer producing them and return the instruments immediately after a set of copies of the digital images will also be made available to the officer producing the mobile instruments . Digital copies of said mobiles will also be provided to lawyers for custody purposes.
On December 17, 2021, a report was released by US forensic investigative firm Arsenal Consultancy which revealed that defendant Mr Wilson’s mobile phone had been attacked by Pegasus spyware on 49 occasions and succeeded to infect his phone before his arrest on June 6. 2018, in the case.