Day after Stan Swamy’s death, new report says incriminating documents planted in computers of accused

A forensic report claims Surendra Gadling's computer was compromised through emails he received, and on which others like Stan Swamy were copied. As such, Swamy's computer too may have been targeted

Father Stan Swamy
Father Stan Swamy

NH Web Desk

Just a day after tribal rights activist Stan Swamy passed away in judicial custody, triggering widespread outrage, a report from an American forensic agency claimed that incriminating evidence was planted on the computer of Surendra Gadling, who too was arrested under UAPA for alleged links to the banned CPI(Maoist) group in the Bhima-Koregaon case.

The report says Gadling's computer had been compromised over two years before he was arrested through emails that he received, and on which others like Stan Swamy were copied, raising the possibility that Swamy's computer too may have been targeted, as per an NDTV report.

Stan Swamy had insisted throughout the time of his incarceration, including in his multiple bail applications, that the evidence presented against him of instigating a riot and of links to Maoist guerrillas was fabricated.

Earlier this year, The Washington Post had reported on a similar document from the same firm, Arsenal Consulting, based in Boston, alleging that an unknown hacker had planted over 30 documents on the computer belonging to Rona Wilson, another accused in the case.

The latest Arsenal report, dated June 2021, analysed the hard drive of Surendra Gadling, 53, a Dalit rights activist based in Nagpur, finding even deeper proof of the planting of incriminating evidence.

"It should be noted that this is one of the most serious cases involving evidence-tampering that Arsenal has ever encountered," reads the report.

The report says Gadling’s system was compromised for over 20 months between February 2016 and November 2017, and at least 14 incriminating letters were planted on the computer by the same attacker who targeted Rona Wilson's system and planted 30 files there.

The report suggests that devices used by other defendants in the Bhima Koregaon case may have been compromised, including Stan Swamy.

The hard drive of Surendra Gadling's computer was seized by the police, and a copy of it was given to his lawyers, who, in turn, shared it with Arsenal for analysis.

Arsenal said that they caught the attacker "red-handed" based on remnants of the attacker's activity imprinted on Mr Gadling's system.

Arsenal found that the 14 letters were delivered to a hidden folder titled 'Material' on Surendra Gadling's computer between December 2016 and October 2017.

"Arsenal has found no evidence which would suggest that the 14 important documents were ever interacted with in any legitimate way on Mr Gadling's computer... More specifically, there is no evidence which would suggest any of the fourteen important documents, or the hidden "Material" folder they were contained in, were ever opened," it says.

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Published: 06 Jul 2021, 7:51 PM