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Delhi riots: Police allowed to record Jamia student Iqbal Tanha’s voice samples

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON DEC 17, 2020 12:23 AM IST

A Delhi court on Wednesday allowed police to record the voice samples of Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha, who has been charged under the stringent UAPA in the Delhi riot cases, after the investigating officer (IO) moved an application for the same.

Additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat directed the investigating officer to coordinate with the Central Bureau of Investigation’s Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) at Lodhi Colony (New Delhi), to schedule the obtainment of voice samples and inform the court so production warrants could be issued.

The police had moved the court seeking its permission to take voice samples of Tanha so that certain alleged incriminating data/audio files, retrieved by CERT­-In technology from his mobile phone, could be matched with it.

While allowing the police’s plea, the court said the aspect of taking voice samples of an accused was an aspect of the investigation and it did not make the accused a witness against himself.

“Accused Asif Iqbal Tanha is already arrested in the case and is in judicial custody. His regular bail has already been dismissed by this court. Further investigation is in progress.

“The aspect of taking voice samples of an accused is an aspect of investigation. As such, it does not make the accused witness against himself. Accordingly, in the interest of investigation, the application, moved by the Investigating Officer of the present case seeking permission to take voice sample of the accused Asif Iqbal Tanha, is allowed,” it said in its order passed on December 15, and passed certain directions to protect the rights of the accused.

The judge also directed the police to intimate Tanha’s counsel about the specified date and time of his production at CFSL.It added that the accused’s counsel may remain present at the time of obtaining voice samples with the permission of the Director of CFSL or the IO and have legal interview with Tanha for 15 minutes only.

During the hearing, special public prosecutor Amit Prasad, appearing for the police, said data retrieved from the accused’s mobile phone by the CERT-­In technology was examined and allegedly some incriminating audio files have been found, for which the voice sample was required to identify and match it with the data.

Advocate Sowjhanya Shankaran, appearing for Tanha, denied all the contents of the application and claimed the arrest of the accused in the case was wholly “illegal” and without any evidence. Shankaran added that Tanha has diligently cooperated with the investigation from the beginning and before to his arrest, and undertakes to do so subject to the exercise of his fundamental right against self-incrimination.

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