Police say they got to know of Geelani’s role
on Dec 17. What made them pick him up two days earlier?
The holes in the
prosecution story on the Parliament attack case are too big to be missed.
How did the Delhi Police get to SAR Geelani, the first person arrested
in the case, in the early hours of December 15, two days after the attack?
There was no evidence in the case records to link SAR Geelani to the
site of crime till the details of calls records from cellular service
provider Airtel arrived on the December 17, 2001, which was cited by
police as the clue that enabled them to trace Geelani.
maintains that the police came to know of Geelani’s address from
the telephone bill and the State Bank of India credit card, with which
the du lecturer paid his phone bill. “Of all the numbers, 98100-81228
was found to be a regular mobile card which stood in the name of SAR
Geelani, House No: 535, Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi,” says the chargesheet.
The police allegedly
recovered slips of paper from the pockets of the slain terrorists, each
containing five mobile numbers. None of these numbers belonged to Afzal
or Geelani. Further, the police recovered six sim cards and three mobiles
from the deceased terrorists. Apart from this, it is alleged that Afzal’s
number 98114-89429 was written on all the fake i-cards of ‘Xansa
Web City’ recovered from the militants. This fact emboldened the
police to zero in on Afzal but the sim card for this number has not
been recovered. Further, the fake I-cards that carried Afzal’s
number were not sealed. They were just pasted on paper and remained
in the investigators’ custody. Prosecution Witness 8, Head Constable
Ashwini Kumar posted at the Parliament Street police station, was among
the first to arrive at the site of the crime and prepared the seizure
memos listing the articles recovered from the site and the bodies. He
told the court that as far as he could remember, “the telephone
number was not written on the seizure”.
The cellphone numbers
the police found on slain terrorists didn’t belong to Geelani
When it was pointed
out in court that there was no known way to reach Geelani before the
receipt of the Airtel letter, the Delhi High Court gave the benefit
of doubt to the prosecution saying this could be a “typographical
error”. The court did not “consider it necessary to
delve further” into the controversy emanating from this letter
since “no question was put to the security manager of Airtel,”
the Supreme Court observed. Further, “none of the witnesses pertaining
to the fir were cross-examined”.
But if there was
a “typographical error” and the Airtel note was written
before December 17, it creates another problem. The letter said, “responding
to the police request for call records refer to section 3/4/5/21/22
POTO…” The Prevention of Terrorist Activities Ordinance
(POTO) was promulgated only on December 19 that year. How could the
police apply POTO provisions before the ordinance came into force?
Call records placed
before the court were uncertified computer printouts. The calls records
show that two calls were made between Shaukat and Afzal, the called
and calling numbers were identical, time and location are identical,
but the imei number, the handset’s number apart from the phone
number, was different. Records show that on December 13, 2001, at 11:19:14am,
two calls were simultaneously made from Afzal to Shaukat but from different
handsets. The same thing occurred again 11:32:40am. As per the chargesheet,
Inspector Mohan Chand mounted surveillance on Geelani’s mobile
on December 13, 2001.
On the next day,
a call from Srinagar was intercepted on this cell. The sequence of arrests
began with Geelani’s arrest at 10am, Afsan at 10.45am, Afzal and
Saukat in Srinagar at 11.30am on December 15, 2001. Allegedly, Geelani
disclosed information leading to the arrest of the others. But in his
disclosure statement, Geelani doesn’t mention any mobile phone.
He denied in court that he told the police that any mobile number belonged
to Afzal or Shaukat. Coming back to the question: How did the police
first reach Geelani? At best this remains an unsolved riddle.