Brinda writes to DoT over preservation of call records

Karat, a Rajya Sabha member from West Bengal, has asked Raja about the policy for automatic preservation of call records by private telecom companies and government owned Mahanagar telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), especially in case of mass violence or registration of First Information Reports.

"The matter gains relevance because of the various court cases going on about the massacre of innocent people during the violence in Gujarat in 2002. "I have been given to understand that some telecom corporations have maintained that the records of calls for that period have been destroyed. The fact is that quite shortly after the violence, an inquiry commission under Justice Nanavati had been formed.

"In such a situation the telephone records of top functionaries in the state are crucial for the investigation," she said in a letter dated August 16. "Further, survivor victims or families of those killed have filed cases, some of which are pending before the Supreme Court. In these cases, as for example in the murder case of former member of Parliament Ehsan Jafri, his call records are extremely important pieces of evidence.

"Eye-witnesses have stated on oath before the Court that Jafri, desperate for help called up important political functionaries, who, instead of helping him, abused him before he was butchered," Karat said.

She said "you (Raja) will appreciate that the policy framework of the Ministry in this connection is very important. "I would be very grateful if you would be kind enough to let me know what are the regulations and procedures relating to the preservation of documents and records in cases such as the above," the Parliamentarian said.

Karat also sought to know whether any guidelines have been issued to telecom companies or details of any inquiry ordered into the disappearance of records of the said time.

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