How Delhi cops took cue from West, used new tech in riots conspiracy probe

Geo-location analysis was also used by police to extract details from Google Maps installed on the phones of the accused to establish their movements. An officer said this technique had come in handy in the murder case of Rahul Solanki, who was sh...

File photo of northeast Delhi riots
NEW DELHI: The chargesheet filed in the February riots conspiracy is not only the biggest one volume-wise, but also reportedly based on new scientific investigation techniques used by Delhi Police. Given the sensitivity and the complexity of the case, it is learnt that investigators used additional technological tools, other than the usual call details records analysis, etc.



For example, an experiment was conducted with Internet Protocol Details Records analysis, often used by police forces in the West nowadays. This is the study of internet traffic from smartphones that establishes communication between two entities through VoIP calls, etc. This came in handy as many accused were communicating through calls and chats on apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.


“We also used software for facial reconstruction to identify burnt bodies by superimposing skulls on the photograph of victims,” an investigator said. Police also used technology to follow the money trail, a source told TOI. A software for fund flow analysis was used to identify patterns in the transactions done by the accused and to establish its circulation for allegedly organising and funding the riots.

The identity of the alleged rioters was also corroborated from text messages sent to e-Vahan reportedly to seek ownership details of vehicles before setting them ablaze. “The numbers from which messages were sent on the rioting day were obtained from the government database,” said a source. These techniques were also being used in other riots cases being probed by the Crime Branch Special Investigation Team.

Geo-location analysis was also used by police to extract details from Google Maps installed on the phones of the accused to establish their movements. An officer said this technique had come in handy in the murder case of Rahul Solanki, who was shot dead on February 24 at 5.50pm.
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Asked to elaborate on the use of video analytics and facial recognition, an officer said, “We obtained 945 video clips from CCTV cameras installed on roads, video recordings from smartphones, media houses and others, and analysed them with the help of the analytics tools and facial recognition system.”

“The photographs extracted from them were matched with multiple databases, including the Delhi Police criminal dossiers and other databases maintained by the government. This helped in identifying 2,655 people and taking legal action against them with other supporting evidence,” added the officer.

The facial reconstruction technology helped identify bodies charred beyond recognition. This was used specifically in the murder case of Shahbaz from Karawal Nagar.

Data recovered from mobile handsets seized from the accused proved helpful in gathering evidence against them with the help of mobile forensics, cloning and other scientific methods. Several self-incriminating digital evidence, such as recorded conversation, videos, etc, were recovered from the handsets.
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When contacted for a comment, Delhi Police commissioner SN Shrivastava said, “The cases are sub judice, so details can’t be shared. But I do agree that our investigation is, to a large extent, based on scientific tools and methods.”

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