Cops to spend 3 more days in CBI remand

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A special court hearing the 2004 Ishrat Jahan encounter case on Monday extended by three days the CBI remand for police officers Tarun Barot and Bharat Patel after the probe agency told the court it had obtained mobile call data records (CDRs) of policemen for the night of the encounter killing.

The CBI also told the court that the incident did not happen in the way mentioned by Ahmedabad City Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) in 2004.

CBI's claim runs counter to the FIR lodged by the chairman of Gujarat High Court (HC)-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), R R Verma, that said the CDRs were permanently lost.

Barot and Patel arrested by CBI on February 23 and were sent to police remand for 24 hours by a magisterial court the next day.

The agency produced the two before a special CBI court on Monday and sought their remand till March 8, arguing that CDRs showed there was no nakabandi prior to the shooting.

Earlier, while detailing lapses on the part of the officer from the DCB who first probed the case, the FIR lodged by Verma had stated, "...the cellular service providers retain this data (CDRs) only for a period of one year as per existing guidelines. It is not available now, and this valuable piece of evidence is permanently lost."

However, the CBI counsel told the court Monday that the cellular companies preserved the CDRs for seven years for commercial purposes and that in cases involving national interest, the same could be retrieved from their servers where the data remained dumped.

He further told the court that they had got bulky CDRs 10-15 days ago and discreet custodial interrogation of the two police officers was necessary in that regard.

The CBI counsel also argued that the two, being senior police officers, knew investigation very well and therefore were giving evasive replies and employing dilatory tactics during interrogation.

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