Rona Wilson is an activist, researcher and the public relations secretary of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP). He has worked with people accused in terrorism cases, including those booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). He is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case and may have been framed. See Fabrication of Evidence.
Rona Wilson was born in 1972 at Kollam district of Kerala. After completing a graduation in Zoology, he moved to Pondicherry Central University for studying Master of Arts in Political science and International relations. Subsequently in late 1990's he moved to Delhi at the Center for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to pursue an M. Phil. in political studies. In 2018 while preparing for a Ph.D. in London he was arrested and incarcerated at Yerawada Central Jail, Pune.
He has actively fought for release of many political prisoners. He was at the forefront of the struggle to release SAR Geelani who was initially awarded death sentence in the 2001 Parliament attack case. In 2003, Delhi High Court acquitted Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani from this charged. After this, he formed the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) with Geelani. He had also worked with activists for release of G.N. Saibaba who was convicted in 2017 for connections with Maoists.
Rona's house was raided in April 2018 in connection with 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence. At the time, he was preparing a research proposal for a Ph.D. inOn 6 June 2018, he was arrested from Munirka in Delhi early in the morning by Pune Police along with Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and Surendra Gadling in a joint operation across India. He was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The main allegations against Rona are,
- He had played a role in organizing Shaniwarwada Elgar Parishad on 31 December 2017, which led to violent clash between Marathas and Dalits on 1 January 2018 at Koregaon Bhima on the occasion of 200th anniversary of Battle of Koregaon. The main organiser Sudhir Dhawale was in touch with Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling.
- Rona Wilson is associated with banned outfit Communist Party of India (Maoist) and this organisation had funded Elgaar Parishad and the ensuing violence.
- A letter was found in the hard disk of computer used by Rona which had mention about Rajiv Gandhi type assassination plot against Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.
- He is a maoist sympathiser and was involved in activities that are meant to destabilize the country. Pune Police submitted before court that, Rona WIlson had connections with G.N. Saibaba who was convicted for connections with Maoists.
Fabrication of Evidence
In 30 July 2020, Rona Wilson obtained a cloned copy of his hard disk. The American Bar Association forwarded this to a digital forensic analyst firm named Arsenal Consulting. In February 2021, a report by Arsenal Consulting, the digital forensics firm based out of Massachusetts, said the incriminating evidence against Rona Wilson was placed on his laptop by a yet-to-be-identified attacker using a malware named NetWire. It also said that the laptop was compromised for over 22 months and the malware has also affected storage devices that were connected to the system.
In February 2021, Rona Wilson moved a petition before Bombay High Court to quash proceedings against him in light of findings made by Arsenal Consulting. However National Investigation Agency filed a counter affidavit to it denying the findings of Arsenal Consulting on the basis that the findings has not mentioned the person who is alleged to have framed Rona Wilson. NIA also argued that these findings are not part of charge sheet filed before the court and as per settled position of law documents outside purview of charge sheet cannot be relied.
- Johari, Aarefa. "A poet, a lawyer, a professor: These are the five activists held for sparking Bhima Koregaon clashes". Scroll.in. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
- The unravelling of a conspiracy: were the 16 charged with plotting to kill India’s prime minister framed? The Guardian
- Konikkara, Aathira. "From the other side of the bars: Rona Wilson's quiet commitment to prisoners' rights". The Caravan. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- "The People's Fighters: Meet the Five Arrested in the Bhima Koregaon Case". The Wire. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
- Mody, Anjali (19 December 2002). "Three sentenced to death in Parliament attack case". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
- Mody, Anjali (30 October 2003). "Geelani, Afsan Guru acquitted in Parliament attack case". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
- "Family scared after raid, says DU professor Hany Babus wife". www.outlookindia.com/. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
- "Koregaon violence: Activist Rona Jacob Wilson arrested in Delhi - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
- "WHAT IS BHIMA KOREGAON CASE". Business Standard India. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Agarwal, Poonam (30 August 2018). "Bhima-Koregaon FIR Didn't Mention UAPA, Do Cops Have Evidence Now?". TheQuint. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Shreegireesh Jalihal, The Reporters' Collective. "In Bhima-Koregaon case, new forensic report shows how hacker planted key files on accused's computer". Scroll.in. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- "EXCLUSIVE: Maoist letter revealing sinister plot to assassinate PM Modi recovered. Read it here". Republic World. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Torgalkar, Varsha (26 November 2018). "Plot to kill PM mentioned in two lines of 5,160-page charge sheet". National Herald. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- Venugopal, N. "Why isn't the government looking for the source of 'Modi assassination' malware on Rona Wilson's PC?". Scroll.in. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
- "Elgaar Parishad: Police opposes bail pleas, claims Rona Wilson has links to G N Saibaba". The Indian Express. 9 April 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
- "Bhima-Koregaon violence case: Rona Wilson cannot rely upon report by Arsenal Consultancy, says NIA". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 1 May 2021. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 May 2021.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Bhima-Koregaon case: experts explain how evidence was planted in Rona Wilson's computer". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 17 February 2021. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 May 2021.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "They were accused of plotting to overthrow the Modi government. The evidence was planted, new report says". The Washington Post. 10 February 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
- "Evidence planted in Bhima Koregaon accused Rona Wilson's computer: US firm". The Tribune. 11 February 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2021.