Original 7/11 call records still with telcos: ATS

A day after the Maharashtra ATS filed an affidavit stating that it had destroyed the call data records (CDRs) in the case related to the suburban train bomb blasts of 2006 as they were "not relevant or useful", it told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that only the copies of the CDRs had been destroyed while the original records were still available with the cellphone service providers.

"The original record was and is available with the telecom companies," said Advocate General D J Khambata, adding that the companies do not part with the original records. "It is most unfair. It has been made to look like police officers have destroyed original evidence. This is nothing but a red herring," he said.

Thirteen alleged SIMI members facing trial in the 7/11 blasts had moved the Bombay High Court in September, challenging the order of a special MCOCA court that rejected their plea seeking the examination of three police officers and the production of the CDRs that the ATS was using against them.

On Tuesday, the prosecution and the defence concluded their arguments in the case. Justice A M Thipsay has called for the case diary from the special MCOCA court conducting the 7/11 trial and reserved the verdict in the case.

Khambata explained that the soft copies of the CDRs that were made available to the ATS by the service providers were like "xerox copies" of a document. "What is so important about these xerox copies when originals are staring them (accused) in the face? They must first attempt to get the primary evidence," he said.

Khambata said that the prosecution had no objection if the defence wanted summons to be issued to the nodal officers from the cellphone companies in this connection.

Defence lawyer Yug Chaudhry said there is a "strong and well-founded suspicion that if the CDRs were destroyed, they were destroyed after the appeal (in the HC in September) was filed."

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