CBI books ex-NIA ASP for 'fraudulently' obtaining CDRs

CBI books ex-NIA ASP for 'fraudulently' obtaining CDR of mobile phone numbers

Representative Image. Credit: PTI Photo

Former NIA investigator Jalaj Srivastava has found himself in trouble with the CBI registering a case against him for illegally obtaining call records of a person and giving it to the wife of an IRS officer who was arrested later on corruption charges.

The CBI filed the FIR on Wednesday, two years after it received a complaint from the National Investigation Agency, which conducted an internal enquiry and found that Srivastava, who was later repatriated to BSF, was in the wrong. BSF had given its consent to register a case against Srivastava, who was an Additional Superintendent of Police in NIA, last week.

Srivastava, who is a Deputy Commandant presently posted in Imphal, has been booked under sections related to abuse of official position, criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation among others.

According to the FIR, during 2017 and 2018, Srivastava "abused his official position as such in as much as he committed the offence of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation by way of fraudulently and dishonestly procuring call records of two mobile numbers on two occasions and one failed occasion without any authority or having any connection with any case of being investigated by NIA".

In his complaint to the CBI, which is part of the FIR, NIA Deputy Inspector General Ankit Garg said the CBI had informed the NIA about Srivastava speaking with Avinash Kaur, the wife of IRS officer Sansar Chand, who asked him to provide call records of one Sudesh Saini. Chand and Kaur were arrested in 2018 for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 1.5 lakh from a Kanpur-based businessman.

During the internal inquiry, Garg said, the NIA found out that Srivastava procured call records on at least two occasions -- 27/28 December, 2017 and 23 March 2018 -- and one failed attempt on 16 March, 2018.

Srivastava allegedly obtained the call records illegally of two mobile numbers through the official email id of NIA SP AD Negi without the latter's permission and shared it with Kaur, Garg said in his complaint.

According to the NIA inquiry report, which was submitted on 18 April, 2018, the agency's data base showed that Srivastava had sought the call records citing investigations in a case registered in 2017. Negi was the chief investigating officer and Srivastava was part of the team but the latter allegedly did not take the permission or inform his superior officer about it.

Negi had authorised Inspector Rajesh Kumar to access his email for investigation purposes. Srivastava called Kumar and asked him to get the call details and later provided two mobile numbers of Saini in WhatsApp.

"Without realising the malafide intentions on the part of Jalaj Srivastava, (Inspector) Rajesh Kumar...sent the requisition (citing a particular case) to Vodafone on 27 December, 2017 at 8:24 PM...," the NIA enquiry report said.

However, Negi told the inquiry panel that Saini has no connection with the case his team was investigating. "This clearly shows that Srivastava had requisitioned the CDRs (call detail records) of these two mobile numbers for purposes other than those related to investigation of the said NIA case," the report said.

Analysing the call records of Srivastava, the NIA inquiry found that Kaur used to stay in the same building where the accused stayed and were in regular touch.

On the day Srivastava sought the call records, the report said, Kaur had called the NIA officer at 6:40 PM and this was followed by a call from the investigator to Inspector Rajesh Kumar at 8:09 PM. The next day, Kumar informed Srivastava about the receipt of call records to which he replied in the affirmative.

The report noted that Srivastava called Kaur at 6:20 PM, almost an hour after the call records analysis for two numbers were done.

Srivastava told the inquiry panel that he had received an input about the mobile number and its owner Saini, who is "suspected to be involved in hawala racket and may be involved in the case" they were investigating.

However, the inquiry panel did not find his explanation tenable and said, "at best, it is an afterthought". The report said that Srivastava never brought this input to the notice of his superior officer while analysis of the accused's call records showed both Srivastava and Saini were personally acquainted as there were ten calls in one year.

On the aborted attempt to get call records on 16 March, 2018, the report cited a WhatsApp conversation between Srivastava and Inspector Kumar, who asked the former to inform Negi first before making him send a requisition for call records for two other numbers.

Kumar told Srivastava that he has specific instruction from Negi that he should be informed before sending an application seeking call records. During the WhatsApp conversation, Srivastava had asked Kumar to keep their conversation "secret".

However, Srivastava managed to get the call records by making an Assistant Sub Inspector JK Ojha to send the request citing a different case. The numbers given were that of Guwahati-based Surya Constructions but it was found out that the company was not connected with the case.

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