A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court had turned down an application by the 13 men demanding the examination of three DCPs who allegedly recorded the statements of the three IM men. The first five IM men were arrested in September 2008 by the Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS).
The accused had urged the court to allow the examination of the DCPs and produce Call Data Records (CDRs) that were being used against them by the ATS.
Defence lawyers Yug Chaudhry and Khan Abdul Wahab contended that the accused were not even in Mumbai at the time of the incident, they were illegally detained much before they were shown arrested and their mobile phones were in use even after their arrest.
Chaudhry said if the accused were convicted in the case, they could be facing death sentence. “Do they not have the right to prove that someone else has done it?”
On Monday, Justice A M Thipsay allowed the appeal and permitted the 13 accused to summon and examine the DCPs concerned before the trial court.
The state government, however, did not seek a stay on the court’s order. Public Prosecutor Revati Dere said they were awaiting a copy of the court’s order, based on which they would decide the next course of action.
The prosecution had opposed the petition saying that this would prejudice the accused facing a separate trial in the cases related to the IM. The special court cited the same reason for turning down the application of the accused in the 7/11 blasts case.
Court to decide on production of call data records separately
The 13 accused in the 7/11 blasts had also sought the production of the Call Data Records (CDRs) that the Maharashtra ATS, in more than one remand applications, had relied on for information about who the men were talking to over phone and their alleged links with the Lashkar-e-Toiba. The court will decide the plea pertaining to the production of the CDRs separately. Last month, the ATS had filed an affidavit stating that they had destroyed the CDRs as they had “no material which was relevant or useful...”. However, a day later, it said what had been destroyed were just copies of the CDRs, while the original records were still available with the cellphone service providers.