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CBI seized my computer without providing ‘hash value’ to plant files to maliciously frame me: Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia

Manish Sisodia alleged that in the absence of recording "HASH VALUE" during the seizure of his computer, the CBI can change the record in the seized CPU at its convenience.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday issued an official statement on the CBI raid on his office, terming the whole exercise to be an act of malice.

In his statement, the Deputy CM has termed the whole exercise to be an act of malice detailing how the CBI raided his office on a Second Saturday (an official holiday) and gave a handwritten notice to the Secretary to seize a computer from the conference room. He said, “CBI is trying to maliciously frame me, seized a computer without providing Hash Value.”

The official statement reads, “Yesterday was a Second Saturday, so my office was closed when some CBI Official telephonically informed my PS to come to the office and open the same. When my PS reached the office at around 3:00 pm, he saw that a team of CBI officials was already present at my office. The CBI Officials asked him to open the Office and to take them to the conference room.”

“As they reached the conference room, they saw a computer installed therein, asked my PS to switch it on, assessed the same, and, forthwith, handed over a Notice under Section 91 CrPc to the Secretary, Dy. CM (GNCTD) with reference to the investigation of RC0032022A0053” the statement reads.

The statement further reads that as per the Notice, the Secretary was requested to produce the CPU of the system installed in my conference room.

“Thereafter, the CPU from the conference room of my office was seized without following the due procedure laid down. From the perusal of the said notice, it was perceived that the notice was hand-written to the Secretary, and immediately the property (CPU) was seized which shows the mala-fide of the Officer,” it read.

“The said conduct/ act of the CBI Officials also shows their malice whereby the Notice was given and immediately the said property was seized that too without following the guidelines as laid down in Chapter XVI: Cyber Crimes, CBI (Crime) Manual 2020. As it is explicitly mentioned in the said CBI Manual in Chapter XVI, 16.19:”

Sisodia said that CBI seized the computer without providing ‘Hash Value’.

The official statement reads, “Hash value is essentially an electronic fingerprint. The data within a file is represented through the cryptographic algorithm as a value known as hash-value. It is a string of data variables. Hash Value is the key to determining and validating the integrity of the data in question. As the integrity of the seized electronic device/digital device is quintessential to establishing the case, it is important to ensure the hash value of the data record is taken by the Investigating Officer at the time of seizure. The use of Hashing to authenticate electronic records is detailed in section 3(2) of the IT Act, 2000.”

“CBI Manual also mandates that at the time of the seizure of electronic document itself- an image of the same shall also be created and the said image shall also be hashed and tally with the hashing of the seized data to ensure data integrity. It is, therefore, a matter of record, as per the Seizure Memo provided to us by the CBI after the seizure that no ‘HASH VALUE was taken and mentioned by the Officer in the seizure memo who had seized the CPU’, nor CBI made an image of the seized document and hashed it” the statement reads further.

He said that in the absence of recording “HASH VALUE” during the seizure, the CBI can change the record in the seized CPU at its convenience.

According to the statement, “It appears that there is a scope for implanting, deleting and editing the record in the seized CPU by the team of CBI for making a frivolous case against me. In the absence of recording “HASH VALUE” during the seizure, the CBI can change the record in the seized CPU as per its convenience to maliciously frame me.”

Sisodia said in a statement, “I have clear apprehension that CBI has seized the CPU to destroy the confidential files/documents stored therein and will implant/edit files in the CPU and use the same to falsely implicate me as my name is not in the CBI chargesheet as an accused with respect to the afore-mention case.”

“Though the CBI/ED investigation in the Excise matter has been going on since last August 2022, it has not led to the discovery of any material against me. However, CBI is still continuing with its fishing and roving inquiry into the matter even after the chargesheet has been filed. This act clearly demonstrates that no procedural safeguards complied which would have ensured the integrity of electronic documents as mandated under the CBI Manual & IT Act. Therefore, the seizure of the electronic evidence yesterday has lost its authenticity and integrity in the eyes of law” Sisodia added in his statement.

(This news report is published from a syndicated feed. Except for the headline, the content has not been written or edited by OpIndia staff)

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