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Bhima Koregaon : Sudha Bharadwaj's Counsel Questions Admissibility Of Letters That Allegedly Incriminate Her

nitish kashyap
30 Aug 2019 2:57 PM GMT
Bhima Koregaon : Sudha Bharadwaj
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Before the bench of Justice S V Kotwal of Bombay High Court, Dr.Yug Mohit Chaudhary began his submissions on Friday, the fourth day of the daily hearings in bail applications filed by three of the accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence namely Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Vernon Gonsalves.

Appearing for Sudha Bharadwaj, a human rights lawyer and trade unionist who has been in jail for over a year, Dr.Chaudhary submitted that his client's laptop, pen drive, mobile phone and hard drive were seized by the police but they did not find anything, hence they are not relying upon any document recovered from me, Chaudhary argued.

He said-

"It is not the prosecution's case that I (Sudha) was present at the Elgar Parishad Conclave or at Bhima Koregaon. The prosecution has a single witness, the investigating officer.

On merits of the case, I have one contention, there is not a single document that is admissible in law. All the documents are printouts not originals. According to the prosecution, letters relied upon by them have not been generated from the computer they were recovered from, instead they have been copied on the hard drive of the accused.

Which means that they do not have the original copy of a single document. All the documents are typed so they cannot be linked to me by handwriting analysis.

All the documents that are either letters or minutes, are unsigned, unauthenticated and unverified by a single statement under Section 161 of CrPC.

So, this is what happened, 'A' typed an unsigned letter and sent it to 'B', which was found on C's computer mentioning something about 'D' and they are calling this evidence."

Thereafter, Dr.Chaudhary read out from one of the letters relied upon by the prosecution, which were seized from Surendra Gadling and Rona Wilson, and stated-

"They have claimed to seize the said letters from IPL instead of IAPL (Indian Association of People's Lawyers), somebody was watching cricket while drafting this letter", Chaudhary remarked sarcastically.

In the said letter, Professor GN Saibaba finds a mention, so do the separatists and stone pelters in Kashmir. It is also stated in the said letter that Gautam Navlakha a human rights activist and journalist, who is currently on pre-arrest bail, was in communication with the separatists.

"Let us assume that this letter was written to the most senior Maoist commander, lets assume it was written to Chairman Mao himself, even still, can this be admitted as evidence? They have interrogated me (Sudha Bharadwaj), they could have got some evidence."

Chaudhary further submitted that in another letter it is claimed that there was a gathering of all the female members of the 'party' on January 2, 2018 where both Shoma Sen and Sudha Bharadwaj were present.

"Shoma Sen is a retired Professor of English Literature at Nagpur University. Sudha Bharadwaj's whole life has been dedicated to the service of tribals and the poor. She is a Professor at National Law University, Delhi. She is the President's representative in selecting a Vice Chancellor for the State of Chhattisgarh and she is being accused of providing training for bomb-making!

There Call Data Records (CDR) reflects that Shoma was in Bombay at the time of the alleged gathering and Sudha Bharadwaj was in Faridabad, Haryana", Chaudhary submitted.

The court adjourned the matter to Wednesday as a compilation of documents made for easy referral of the Court which was submitted by the prosecution as well as the accused's lawyer had been misplaced. Dr.Chaudhary will start his arguments afresh on the next date. 

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