The ATS arrested 13 alleged Students Islamic Movement of India activists in 2006 for the serial train bombings
The call data records (CDRs) of the accused in the July 11 serial train blasts here obtained by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) during its probe have been destroyed as they were not used in the charge sheet, the agency told the Bombay High Court early this week.
The ATS will file an affidavit to that effect before the court on Monday.
“We will file an affidavit explaining how the CDRs were made and how and why they were deleted. We have nothing to hide… The records were there. They were collected by the data analysis cell. The affidavit of the cell will say what happened to the CDRs,” Advocate General Darius Khambata told Justice A.M. Thipsay.
The ATS’ statement came in response to an application from the defence calling for the records to be produced. Defence lawyer Yug Chaudhary said the accused have been asking for the records time and again. The agency, however, has been scuttling the matter by giving differing reasons.
Questioning the existence of the CDRs, ATS chief Rakesh Maria told the court in a reply file this July, “As regards the original CDRs… [I submit] that this is a case of 2006, when I was not connected with the ATS. If at all there are any such documents, then only the IO [investigating officer] of the case would have them. Hence, I am not in a position to produce such documents.”
In earlier hearings, the agency said it had “lost” the CDRs and that they were “not available.”
Although the ATS has not relied upon the CDRs in the chargesheet, they sought the custody of the accused in 2006 on the basis of these records.
In the last application for remand filed on November 23, 2006, the ATS said, “The CDRs of the mobile phone used by the accused and others are under scrutiny.”
The ATS remand applications similarly cite grounds such as the accused having contacted members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for sending youth for training in terrorist camps in Pakistan, or them having communicated with terrorists in Pakistan.
“If these records have evidence about the accused having contacts with the LeT for training camps and so on, can such a piece of evidence be destroyed?” Mr. Chaudhary asked the court.
He said the various says filed by the prosecution at the trial court make a mention of hard copies of the CDRs. The station diaries have also recorded acts such as constable going to collect “print outs” of the CDRs.
Mr. Khambata argued that material which is not relied upon by an investigating agency is kept for a required period and then destroyed.
The ATS arrested 13 alleged Students Islamic Movement of India activists in 2006 for the serial train bombings. The trial in the case has been stayed till these appeals are decided in the High Court.