Fr Swamy told NIA about planting of evidence, says colleague

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Mumbai, Feb 16 (PTI) Father Stan Swamy, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case jailed since October last year, had told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on at least four occasions during his interrogation that fake evidence had been planted on his computer, the activist's colleague Father Solomon said on Tuesday.

Solomon was speaking at an online press conference attended by family, friends, and lawyers of the 16 activists and academicians accused and currently in custody in the case.

He is director of Bagaicha Social Centre in Ranchi, Jharkhand, where Swamy worked.

The press conference was organised in the wake of a report by a United States-based digital forensics firm, which stated that an attacker used malware to infiltrate a laptop belonging to activist Rona Wilson before his arrest, and inserted at least 10 incriminating letters on his computer.

During his interrogation in Ranchi by the NIA between July and August last year, Swamy told the agency at least on four occasions that he disowned the documents cited by the agency as incriminating, and that such documents might have been 'intercalated' (to insert among existing elements), Solomon said.

'Some letters by the lokmanch had been edited, words had been added or inserted. For instance, a letter started with the greeting of johar that is common in Jharkhand. But the unusual word 'lal' had been added. This made Stan raise questions on the authenticity of the documents,' he claimed.

Senior advocate Mihir Desai, the counsel for several activists accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoists link case, who was also present at the press conference, said the digital firm's report punched a major hole' in the prosecution's story as the latter consistently relied on electronic evidence in the case to oppose bail pleas, seek extension of custody etc.

Those present at the press conference demanded that an independent probe be conducted into the malware report and the 16 arrested in the case be granted bail immediate bail. PTI AYA BNM BNM