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CDR scam: Lawyer Rizwan Siddiqui freed, but police say they have enough to go on

The scam pertains to certain individuals in Mumbai selling call data records of various people to clients for anywhere between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 per number.

mumbai Updated: Mar 21, 2018 23:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thane
CDR scam,call data record,Kangana Ranaut
Police officers have admitted that Rizwan Siddiqui (Centre) was not allowed to be arrested on the basis of a notice, issued for the sake of recording his statement. (Praful Gangurde/HT File Photo)

Thane police have maintained that they have sufficient evidence to crack the call data record (CDR) scam, despite a high court order that lawyer Rizwan Siddiqui — allegedly the “main link” in the case — be released from custody.

Siddiqui was released from the Thane crime branch unit-1 police station on Wednesday afternoon. He was arrested almost a week ago, on March 16.

“We released Siddiqui after the court informed him that he can file a civil suit or criminal suit against Thane crime branch officers responsible for arresting him. We won’t re-arrest him, but the phones and laptops that were seized earlier can be checked again,” an officer from the Thane commissionerate said, reiterating that the lawyer was the “main link” in the scam.

Siddiqui remarked that he was given justice despite not even applying for bail. “I am not planning to pursue this any further,” he said soon after his release.

“My husband and I are responsible members of bar council,” said his wife, Tasneem. “My husband was co-operating with the police. What I want to tell the whole nation is: Never lose your faith in the law.”

The scam pertains to certain individuals in Mumbai selling call data records of various people to clients for anywhere between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 per number. The names of celebrities such as Kangana Ranaut and Ayesha Shroff have cropped up in investigations conducted so far.

Police officers have admitted that Siddiqui was not allowed to be arrested on the basis of notice 41a, issued for the sake of recording his statement.

“Now that Siddiqui has been released, it will be difficult for the police to move ahead on the CDR scam,” said an advocate from Thane on the condition of anonymity. “They have little material to investigate on, save for private detective Prashant Palekar’s mobile phone chats and some contact numbers. Thane police have no option but to find another concrete target.”

The advocate said the court would not have ruled in Siddiqui’s favour unless his role in the scam was limited. “Six days in police custody was ample time for the police to further investigate the matter. And yet, the evidence presented wasn’t enough. It seems as if there was a big hole in the investigation,” he added.

“We have summoned Ayesha Shroff to record her statement,” said a police officer from Thane commissionerate without giving further details.

First Published: Mar 21, 2018 22:32 IST