Fr Stan Swamy's Computer was Hacked, Evidence was Planted: US Report

US-based forensic firm has claimed that Fr Swamy's computer was hacked to plant evidence against him.

What We Know
3 min read

Arsenal Consultancy, a US-based digital forensics firm which had examined the electronic copy of Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy's computer, claims that his system was hacked.

The incident which was reported by The Washington Post, also claims that Fr Stan Swamy and his co-defendants were framed in the case, with Arsenal Consulting, the firm headquartered in Massachusetts indicating that evidence used against Fr Swamy in the Bhima-Koregaon case in 2018 was actually planted by an unidentified technophile.

Meanwhile, Arsenal Consulting’s President Mark Spencer was quoted in a press release as having said:

“The scale of what happened to Father Swamy and some of his co-defendants, in terms of the aggressive surveillance of their electronic devices which culminated in incriminating document deliveries over the course of years, is truly unprecedented.”

What does the Report Say?

The Washington Post quoting the Arsenal Consulting claims:

  • Starting from 2014, until his arrest in 2019, Fr Stan Swamy's computer was hacked.

  • Fr Swamy was targeted using extensive malware for 5 years, with

    hacker gaining complete access over his computer.

  • More than 44 incriminating documents were planted in the computer during this period.

  • These 'planted' documents were cited by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) in a the Bhima-Koregoan case, leading to the arrest of Fr Stan Swamy.

So, What is the nature of these planted documents?

The report claims that these documents were planted in Fr Swamy's computer to frame him under UAPA Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967.

Some of the documents reported to have been planted are:

  • Guide of encrypted data communication on GSM network

  • Letter by SS (presumed Stan Swamy) written to one 'Vijayan Dada', seeking action and capture of senior BJP leaders in Jharkhand.

  • Excel sheet of manpower and weaponry of People's Liberation Guerilla and documents detailing strategy and tactics of Indian revolution.

Arsenal Consulting also asserts that the above three documents are part of 41 more, which were planted by the hacker, and was used by the NIA and government agencies as evidence against Swamy and others in the Bhima-Koregaon case.

The same unidentified hacker also planted:

Both the Wilson and Gadling are accused of having Maoist links and are also charged in the Bhima-Koregaon case.

The fact that all three activists were targeted by a single hacker was confirmed by Arsenal Consulting, who examined the command & control servers, NetWire configurations and passwords of the hacker.

Meanwhile, two experts who consulted with The Washington Post also concluded that that Arsenal's study was sound, and that the hacker indeed infiltrated Fr Stan Swamy's computer.

More About Fr Swamy

Fr Stan Swamy was Jesuit priest based in Jharkhand. The 84-year-old priest and activist was an incarcerated under-trail in the Bhima-Koregaon case, when he died awaiting bail.

He was charged with criminal conspiracy, sedition, and was also booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He died at the hospital on 5 July 2021, after suffering from Parkinsons and other age-related illness.

His death following the denial of bail received widespread criticism, with many civil rights groups accusing the National Investigating Agency of being 'inhuman and politically motivated in their approach'. However, after Fr Swamy's death a Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson had said that his detention was considered following due process of law.

In the aftermath of this latest report, Fr Joseph Xavier, a friend of Fr Swamy and Convenor of the Fr Stan Swamy Legacy Committee of the Jesuits thanked Arsenal Consulting’s President Mark Spencer and his team “for bringing out the truth with evidence and all people of goodwill who continue to stand for truth, justice to the last and the least, and peace.”

Further, he added:

“We, the Jesuits of India, continue to stand in solidarity with those who are languishing in various jails for defending the rights of the poor, especially those falsely implicated in Bhima Koregaon case and reaffirm our commitment to the poor and the marginalised and walk with them in their quest for dignity, liberty, and freedom.”

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