The special investigation team (SIT) probing the killing of eight SIMI men in an encounter near Bhopal last week, has seized the communication logs of police pertaining to the case.
The logs contain communication made between officers in the police control room and those at the encounter site on the October 31 morning when the eight men were gunned down after they escaped Bhopal Central Jail.
The seizure assumes significance as audio-visual clips allegedly having conversations between senior officers and the cops at the encounter site have gone viral on internet, prompting the opposition and rights group to accuse the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government and police of staging the encounter.
On Friday, the SIT had sought the cooperation of people and asked them to share whatever audio and visual clips they possessed about the encounter, and had released two mobile phone numbers for the purpose.
However, no one has come forward till now.
State police sources said the SIT also recorded on Sunday the statements of two witnesses, residents of Khijradev village, where the encounter happened. So far statements of 15 persons have been recorded by the team.
Sources said the SIT has also prepared a set of questions which will be sent to the forensic science lab (FSL) along with the four country-made firearms allegedly recovered from the slain SIMI men.
Bhopal IG Yogesh Choudhary had on October 31 evening claimed that four country-made firearms and three sharp edged weapons were recovered from the fugitives, who had also fired down the hillock on the police.
However, a few hours earlier, the IG ATS of state police, Sanjiv Shami had told reporters in Khijradev village just after the encounter that the SIMI men were unarmed and reiterated the same on Thursday.
The difference in statements by the two IG-rank officers had triggered a huge controversy which is yet to die down. Opposition, including Congress and Muslim groups, have been using this to allege that the encounter was fake.
An audio clip allegedly featuring walkie-talkie conversations of officers handling their “encounter” that went viral online fuelled further suspicion that the cops were keen to kill — not capture alive — the eight men.