On at least seven occasions,the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) relied heavily on call data records (CDRs) to prove links of 7/11 accused with Lashkar-e-Toiba and seek their custody in magistrate courts.
These CDRs stand challenged,with the nodal officer of Bharti Airtel claiming in his deposition Thursday that the three accused of planting bombs on trains were not at places mentioned in the ATS chargesheet.
This is,however,not the first time discrepancies have been pointed out in the ATS claim that the 13 arrested accused bombed Mumbai trains.
Since June 15,2007,when the 13 sought CDRs the prosecution cited in more than one remand applications before the MCOCA court,the defence had been waiting.
The prosecution claim that the CDRs were lost and were not of consequence to the case was questioned in a justice A M Thipsay order last year.
Why was the prosecution not relying on those documents,which,as per claims made by the investigating agency itself,were supposed to go a long way in establishing not only the commission of the offence in question by the appellants but also the wide dimensions thereof,was a question that should have engaged the attention of the court, justice Thipsay observed.
The special MCOCA court conducting the trial for over six years had rejected the defence plea for CDRs.
This order of MCOCA judge Yatin Shinde was challenged in Bombay High Court,which observed: The ease with which the learned (trial) judge believed the claim of unavailability of the record with the investigating agency as well as with the mobile service providers is rather surprising.
HC further said: Was the prosecution conceding that these documents would establish what the appellants claimed they would? If not,what was the objection to produce the same and disprove the claim of appellants that the same would establish their innocence? Was the prosecution suggesting,by objecting to the production thereof,that if anything in favour of the accused had been found as a result of investigation,they were entitled to hide it and would not show it even to the court? Is this the law of this land?
Meanwhile,the defence moved an application before High Court Friday seeking to recall five witnesses who had claimed before the special court to have seen suspicious men on a train prior to explosions at Mira Road and Borivali.
The defence wants to cross-examine them.
A similar application was rejected by the MCOCA court on March 1 this year on the ground that this was an incorrect practice of the defence of giving applications after realising something at the later stage of the trial and if allowed it would turn out to be an endless exercise in recalling witnesses.
Faisal Shaikh: LeT Mumbai chief who worked for Azam Cheema,LeT commander-in-chief (training) in Pakistan. Shaikh allegedly received arms training in Pakistan,sent his brother and co-accused Muzammil,Tanvir Ansari,Sohail and Zameer Shaikh to Pakistan via Tehran and helped get hawala money for 7/11 blasts. He and Asif Khan Bashir Khan harboured Pakistani terrorists and hosted conspiracy meetings at his residence on July 8,9 and 10 and helped assemble bombs.
Shaikh boarded a Virar-bound train from Churchgate on July 11 and planted a bomb. He got down at Dadar as the bomb exploded at Jogeshwari.
Asif Khan Bashir Khan alias Junaid: He harboured Pakistani terrorists at his residence. Khan allegedly procured rexine bags,utensils,ammonium nitrate,detonators and helped assemble bombs. He also planted a bomb that exploded at Borivali station.
Ehteshaam Siddiqui: The Mumbai secretary of SIMI allegedly harboured Pakistani terrorists. He surveyed local trains to plan blasts,helped assemble bombs and attended conspiracy meetings. A bomb allegedly planted by Siddiqui on a Virar-bound train exploded at Mira Road Station.