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JNU: Seize phones of WhatsApp group members, HC tells cops

JNU: Seize phones of WhatsApp group members, HC tells cops

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday ordered the Delhi Police to summon all 137 people identified as members of two WhatsApp groups — 'Friends of RSS' and 'Unity Against Left', where the January 5 attacks inside the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus were purportedly planned and also ordered that their phones be seized to assist in the investigation.

The order came after a single-judge bench of Justice Brijesh Sethi had issued notices to Google, WhatsApp and Apple on a plea to preserve electronic evidence pertaining to the attacks by three senior professors of the varsity.

The counsel for Google told the court on Tuesday that they could provide the user's Google Drive data provided the basic subscriber information is given to them and WhatsApp's counsel told the court that they can only provide the last IP Address used in the group as they do not store messages on their servers.

WhatsApp said that because of their end-to-end encryption model, the messages sent using the application are deleted as soon as they reach the destined user. The Delhi Police said they had issued notice to WhatsApp to initiate the 'emergency' protocol to preserve data on January 11. As a result, Justice Sethi also ordered both companies to preserve all data according to their respective policies in such situations.

The counsel for the Delhi Police also told the court that they had initiated the process to issue notices to all 137 members identified from the WhatsApp groups.

Besides, the court also ordered the Chief Security Officer and the Registrar of JNU to preserve and provide all relevant CCTV footage sought by the Delhi Police under Section 91 of the CrPc in the matter.

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