Arsenal Forensic Report funded by ABA on Bhima Koregaon case is not conclusive enough

While reviewing the Arsenal Forensic Report and its acceptability in the Indian Court, we need to take a comprehensive view of the current digital media scenario and how they have been used to manipulate events in India.

Following are the news reports circulating in the media about the Forensic report of the Massachusetts based Arsenal Consulting.


Key evidence against Rona Wilson, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case that is being investigated by the NIA, was planted on a laptop seized by police, a report by Arsenal Consulting, a Massachusetts-based digital forensics firm, has claimed…. On the basis of the Arsenal report, which claims Wilson’s computer was compromised for nearly two years between 2016 and 2018, the activist has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court, urging judges to dismiss the case against him.

Rona Wilson, the activist accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence has filed a plea in the Bombay High Court seeking dismissal of the case against him. In the plea, Wilson’s lawyer cited a report in the Washington Post, and claimed that the evidence against his client was ‘planted’.

Key evidence against a group of activists and intellectuals, who have been arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case, was planted using a malware on a laptop seized by police, a new forensics report has found, The Washington Post reported.

Activist Rona Wilson, accused of fomenting violence in Bhima Koregaon in 2018, moved Bombay High Court on Wednesday seeking the quashing of criminal proceedings against him. The plea came in the wake of an American digital forensics consulting firm’s conclusion that fabricated evidence was planted in the gadgets, including a laptop and pen drive, which were seized from his house in April 2018 and on the basis of which he was arrested two months later.

Denying the claims of the report, National Investigation Agency (NIA) spokesperson Jaya Roy said: “The digital extracts which we have submitted in court along with the chargesheet were examined at RFSL (Regional Fore-nsic Science Laboratory, Pune), which shows no evidence of any malware in any laptop/device.

Wahshington post”

Key evidence against a group of Indian activists accused of plotting to overthrow the government was planted on a laptop seized by police, a new forensics report concludes, deepening doubts about a case viewed as a test of the rule of law under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Jaya Roy, a spokeswoman for the National Investigation Agency, the anti-terrorism authority overseeing the cases against the activists, said that the forensic analysis of Wilson’s laptop conducted by law enforcement did not show any evidence of malware on the device. She added that there was “substantial documentary and oral evidence” against the individuals charged in the case.

The Hindu

A report by Arsenal Consulting, a digital forensic analyst from Chelsea, U.S., has debunked the electronic evidence gathered by the investigating agency against 42-year-old Rona Wilson and 15 others…

Arsenal Consulting, which was roped in by the American Bar Association to examine the clone copy of the hard disc of Mr. Wilson’s computer, has stated that a hacker controlled his computer for a period of 22 months to plant documents… on Youtube

While looking at the international social media, we need to remember that they are motivated only by money and they are neither supportive of Freedom of Expression nor Privacy though they are used as cover for many of their misdeeds. Most of the media vehicles which have promoted the Arsenal report as if “Police have tampered with the evidence” by misreporting  the report have been exposed by other activists and there is an attempt to suppress such activists from revealing the truth.

We had sometime back reported on Youtube removing the videos of Mr Praveen Kumar

Now it appears that YouTube has committed a similar blunder this time removing the video posted by String which exposed many of the above media vehicles as being funded

for anti-Indian activities by Mr George Soros.

The blocking of String video by YouTube indicates that YouTube is also joining in support of the corrupt media which is supporting Bhima Koregaon agitators .

All this indicates that the international social media like Twitter as well as YouTube have their own agenda and if sufficient money is available they will support anti Indian interests and plot against India. They are not “Media” in the real sense but are only “Commercial Platforms” whose sole aim is to make money. If money does not come from advertising, it can come from others who have their own agenda against India.

Itnot  is only evident in the Bhima Koregaon case but also in the Anti CAA protest or Anti Farm law protest.

The forensic report of Arsenal (Copy of the Arsenal Statement) which was commissioned by the American Bar Association may be a part of this conspiracy.

“Presence of a Virus” is a standard defense for any accused to vitiate the electronic evidence and all experienced Cyber Crime investigators are aware of this. Now the Bhima Koregaon team has invoked this strategy to argue that the otherwise incriminating evidence is not reliable.

A Hard disc is like a huge gated community consisting of thousands of houses. Presence of one unreliable tenant in the gated community does not tarnish the image of the entire residents. Similarly, presence of one virus in  the hard disc is not a sufficient evidence that the entire set of electronic documents in the disc are unreliable and only planted by the virus. There needs to be other evidence to link the virus to the evidence sought to be debunked.

The Arsenal report can only state that a “Virus” was found. But the report has not stated that the documents x,y,z was actually carried into the hard disc by this virus. The reports are therefore misleading and the attempt is deliberate.

The forensic report which is submitted by the accused without explaining why Mr Rona Wilson computer hosted the virus for 22 months, and why even in the absence of any evidence that this “Persistent Attempt to surveillance” was carried out by NIA, the media is portraying such false impression needs to be probed.

The prominent mention that the surveillance was carried out over 22 months gives room for some suspicion that the virus was perhaps present a long time before the event and hence the forensic company wanted to give an alibi to explain why nothing happened for a long time and suddenly some 10 documents were planted before the riots.

It appears that Arsenal was not able to find a conclusive proof where the incriminating documents are linked to NIA or the Police and ended up stating that there was a virus plant from a phishing email from Varavara Rao and the virus has the properties which includes an ability to drop files. Without an indication that the source of the incriminating documents were from NIA, the finding is only a speculation.

The lawyers of Mr Rona Wilson will however pick up from the report and argue that evidence has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

But the Court has to consider what is “reasonable doubt” and what is “Speculation”.

If there are a million files in the hard disk and one of the file is termed a malicious code, whether it is reasonable to reject the entire evidence of the other one million minus one files is the point on which the Court has to decide.

For example, just because there may be one corrupt judge some where, as we cannot say that all the hundreds of judges in other courts may also be corrupt and therefore none of the judgements are fair.

Similarly, the presence of a virus alone is not a conclusive proof to invalidate the entire set of electronic documents in the disc even if its presence is proved correct. (This itself is subject to further counter forensics). Without proof that the electronic documents relied upon as incriminating were tugged along by this virus the argument that they cannot be relied upon is not acceptable.

Further, in view of what is presented above about the reliability of media and foreign agencies who are interested in Anti India campaigns, there is a prima facie possibility that several foreign agencies may come together in a bid to assasinate Mr Modi which is the charge against the subject accused like Rona Wilson and others.

it is therefore necessary for the Court to take a critical examination of the credibility of  Arsenal as a reliable witness (not withstanding its technical abilities), the sources from which this report was funded etc before accepting the evidence .

I hope the Court will understand this and not allow itself to be mislead.

In the meantime, just like we are trying to ensure that Twitter follows the law of the land, by promoting Koo and Tooter as a competition, we do need a video platform to compete with YouTube so that YouTube does not become the next motivated international social media to work against the Indian sovereignty.

In the meantime, we need to point out that there are many Chota YouTube channels who masquerade as “Media”. Some of them call themselves as “TV” and are run by  freelance journalists some of them are professionals but many of them are non professionals who are trying to post false and fake reports some times for extortion purpose. This is the new form of Yellow Journalism for extortionist purpose which also need to be flagged by the Government.

The key to find a solution to this menace is in the Personal Data Protection Act which is due for passage. I hope it would be passed without any delay.

However, if the intentions of the Personal Data Protection Act has to succeed, we need to find upright and honest Data Protection Authority members who will not be funded by anti national forces and would not be deterred by motivated adverse media attacks by the paid media.

We shall watch out for the developments.



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About Vijayashankar Na

Naavi is a veteran Cyber Law specialist in India and is presently working from Bangalore as an Information Assurance Consultant. Pioneered concepts such as ITA 2008 compliance, Naavi is also the founder of Cyber Law College, a virtual Cyber Law Education institution. He now has been focusing on the projects such as Secure Digital India and Cyber Insurance
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