Lawyer Arun Ferreira, an accused in the Elgar Parishad – Bhima Koregaon case, has sought that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) furnish a copy of the order based on which it intercepted the emails between his co-accused and activist Rona Wilson and another wanted accused.
In his plea, Ferreira, presently lodged in Taloja jail, has said that three emails were intercepted on four occasions in July and August 2018 and that the material received from these is being used as evidence in the case. At the time, the investigation of the case was with the Pune police. His plea said further that a provision in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act strictly lays down that such material cannot be used as evidence unless each accused has received a copy of the order of the competent authority under which the interception was directed. The provision stipulated that the order must be furnished at least 10 days before the trial. Ferreira has sought that the court direct the NIA to furnish a copy.
The NIA in its response to the plea denied that there was any interception at any point in time and said that hence, no question arises of obtaining orders to carry out the same. It said that during the probe, devices seized from Wilson were sent for forensic examination and accordingly, the forensic lab found the email ID and its password. The agency said further that the concerned investigating officer had conducted the investigation in the presence of independent witnesses as well as a cyber expert and downloaded the email communications.
The investigating officer had made an audio-video recording of the procedure for collecting these emails. The court reserved its order on the matter on Aug 10.