It was the elaborate network of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at road intersections that helped British police zero in on Maninder Pal Singh Kohli for the 2003 rape and murder of teenager Hannah Foster and also helped them win a Delhi court order on Friday for extradition of the British Indian.
The CCTVs and the powerful mobile telephony network in the country provided police with a string of irrefutable evidence against Kohli for the murder of 17-year-old Hannah at Southampton in England.
Hannah was waiting for a bus to her home when she was dragged by Kohli into his van, a refrigerated vehicle belonging to a food company that he used to drive to deliver food at various places.
According to details mentioned by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kamini Lau in her order to extradite Kohli, the CCTV captured images of his van at various locations at different given times while a mobile phone carried by Hannah gave her exact whereabouts at those crucial points of time.
Lau noted that the various whereabouts of Hannah, as determined from her mobile telephone, invariably coincided with the location of Kohli's van, caught on the CCTV camera.
For example, the court noted, soon after her abduction on March 14, 2003, Hannah had made an emergency call from her mobile phone at 11 pm.
This call helped British police identify her location near South Stoneham House in Wessex Lane in Southampton, a major port city on the south coast of England. And an 11 pm visual, caught on a CCTV installed by the Road Management System for Europe (ROMANSE) on Stoneham Way showed that a vehicle similar to the one used by Kohli to abduct Foster had passed that area.
And yet again an automatic number plate recognition camera, installed at Stoneham Way, showed the presence of Kohli's vehicle in the same area where Hannah's location had been traced through the mobile telephone network.
These details did Kohli in.