The Indian Express22 January 2020
Of the 23 people who were named as accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, nine have till now been arrested.
THE nine arrested accused in the Elgaar Parishad case on Tuesday submitted an application to the court seeking that copies of the “seized data” given to them by the prosecution should be verified with the help of ‘hash values’ of the data recovered at the time of the purported seizure, back in 2018.
Hash value or Metadata are small datasets that indicate the overall state of a larger data storage.
Last week, Special Judge S R Navandar had said that the court will not be moving forward in the case till the time it was verified that all the nine accused had received the copies of the data submitted to the court along with the chargesheet in the case. The court had ordered a verification process to be conducted on Tuesday in presence of four persons, including cyber experts nominated by the defence.
At the time, the court had clarified that the process was not meant to establish the veracity of the data — which would happen at the time of the trial — but to check whether the accused had received copies of the data submitted to the court.
On Tuesday, four persons nominated by the defence — two accused Surendra Gadling and Arun Ferreira, defence lawyer Gaurav Jachak and computer science expert from IIT Supratik Chakraborty — were asked to be present in the server room of the Pune court, where the copy of the data submitted to the court was kept. The process of verification of the data was also attended by Special Judge Navandar.
After the process, an application was submitted on behalf of all the nine arrested accused in the case. The application stated, “The entire case is based on electronic data and the authenticity of the data, with the originally seized devices as on the time of seizure, must now be established through SHA-1 and MD-5 hash values.” The application further stated, “It is therefore prayed that cloned copies of originally seized electronic devices, along with the hash values of the content of these devices at the time of seizure, be provided to the accused.” The court subsequently ordered the prosecution to file its say on the application filed by the accused.
Of the 23 people who were named as accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, nine have till now been arrested. At the time of the arrests and even before that, raids were conducted by the police at the residences of the accused. The chargesheets filed by the police, among other things, rely heavily on the electronic data they claim to have seized from the accused.