The Wire's Statement on Seizure of Electronic Devices by Delhi Police Crime Branch

The Wire's editors and staffers fully cooperated but placed on record that all devices and hard disks were seized without mentioning any hash value – a unique numerical value used to ensure the integrity of the device and its data.

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Statement by The Wire
October 31, 2022

Today, the Delhi Police Crime Branch deployed a large contingent of its personnel across Delhi and Mumbai to the homes of our founding editors Siddharth Varadarajan, MK Venu, Sidharth Bhatia, deputy editor Jahnavi Sen and product-cum-business head Mithun Kidambi pursuant to a Section 91 notice issued in relation to an FIR lodged against them by BJP leader Amit Malviya.

All five cooperated and gave over the devices sought. The seizure from Kidambi began at 2;30 in the morning and lasted till 5 am. We also placed on record our demand for the hash value of the phones, computers and iPads seized and for cloned copies of the devices seized to be kept at a neutral place. The hash value is a unique numerical value used to ensure the integrity of a device and its data.

In spite of this cooperation, The Wire’s office at Bhagat Singh Market in Delhi was also searched and one of our lawyers physically pushed out by the officers at that site. The Crime Branch party then took away the hard disks from the two computers used by our accounts staff, again without mention of any hash value or providing us a cloned copy so that the normal financial work so central to the day-to-day functioning of a media organisation can continue uninterrupted.

Note: Updated at 09:55 on November 1 to include the seizure made at Mithun Kidambi’s residence in Mumbai.