The lack of cooperation from telecom operators in providing call detail records (CDRs) is giving a headache to the Excise Department. The languid response is taking the steam off the investigation and also adversely affect the effective prosecution of the accused.
The Excise Department does not have a cyber wing and, instead, rely on the police’s cyber cell and details provided by telecom operators to carry out their investigation.
However, excise sleuths do not get the call records in time, For instance, they are yet to get the CDRs of the cases registered way back in January this year. Excise sources said the infinite delay in getting call details has been derailing the investigation.
“The probe against the person who has been arrested will go on uninterrupted. We will collect all material evidence and start prosecution on the basis of those pieces of evidence. But when we start a detailed probe to unearth the whole link in the case, we are in the dark because we don’t have access to the CDRs. Hence, in several cases, the real kingpins who operate from behind the screen escape,” said a senior excise officer.
This lack of cooperation from telecom operators is also hurting effective prosecution, sources said.
“For the last six months, we have not got a single CDR. The CDRs are vital evidence in the court. With other material evidence, if CDRs are also present, it will give the prosecution’s arguments an extra edge,” the source added.
As per the rule, the request for CDRs are filed with nodal officers appointed by telecom companies through Joint Excise Commissioners. The nodal officers are expected to provide certified CDRs apropos of the requests. However, that barely happens, sources added.
Piqued by this, the excise officials now have resorted to ways of arm-twisting.
While the case goes to court, the officials name nodal officers of telecom companies as witnesses.
This is being done to make the nodal officers fall in line as they have to cope with the cumbersome task of appearing in the court during the trial. “There is no way for us other than this,” said an Excise inspector. “Appearing in courts as witnesses for several cases can be menacing. The message we are sending across is ‘cooperate with us or share the burden’,” he added.
Overcoming telecos’ brazenness
●Telecom firms yet to give excise dept CDRs of cases registered way back in January this year
●As per rule, request for CDRs are filed with nodal officers appointed by telecom companies
●Piqued by this, excise officials now name nodal officers when cases come to court
●This makes nodal officers appear witnesses during trial proceedings
Delay in investigation
The excise department does not have a cyber wing, instead it relies on the police’s cyber cell and details provided by telecom operators to carry out their investigation. However, excise sleuths do not get the call records in time.―New Indian Express