Look at ‘missing’ CDRs matter further: HC

If MCOCA court feels ATS has call records, it may issue search warrant, says high court

Bombay High Court on Monday asked the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court conducting the trial of 13 alleged SIMI members in the 7/11 train bombings of 2006 to take necessary steps to ascertain whether the call data records (CDRs) that were submitted to the trial court by the Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS) can be retrieved.

In a setback to the ATS, Justice A M Thipsay also said that after scrutiny of the evidence, if the trial court feels that the ATS may be in possession of the CDRs, "then it may consider the prayer of the appellants to issue warrant of search for and seize the relevant documents and produce the same before the court afresh, as may be required by the appellants".

The accused had moved the high court in September, challenging the order of a special MCOCA court that had rejected their plea seeking the CDRs that the prosecution had relied on to establish their alleged links to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

Defence lawyers Yug Chaudhry and Khan Abdul Wahab had contended that the accused were not even in Mumbai at the time of the blasts on July 11, 2006, that they had been illegally detained much before they were shown arrested, and that their mobile phones were in use even after their arrest.

Chaudhry had said that if the accused were convicted, they could face a death sentence. "Do they not have the right to prove that someone else has done it?"

The ATS had refused to produce the CDRs claiming that it did not have the records any more, and they did not form a part of the chargesheet. Police Inspector Sunil Wadke, attached to the Technical Unit Cell (TUC) of the ATS between 2004 and 2008, had filed an affidavit stating that they had destroyed the CDRs as they had "no material which was relevant or useful..."

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