A Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty has been sent by the Jammu and Kashmir Police for the United States requesting for the preserving data of Facebook and Twitter accounts of journalist Shujaat Bhukari, who was killed by Lashker-e-Taiba last month, which will be followed by a Letters Rogatory for handing over the data.
The request under the MLAT was sent to the Home Ministry which will route it to the United States through legal and treaties department of the Ministry of External Affairs soon, officials said.
"We believe that there are threatening messages sent to him on social networking sites from Pakistan which will help the police in nailing all the conspirators behind the killing of the journalist," an official said.
This is for the first time that the Jammu and Kashmir Police has been making efforts to gather evidences in a systematic and scientific way.
Facebook and Twitter are based out of the US and so is Google, which runs e-mail services. The preservation of data and subsequent transfer will give the police more leads into the case, the officials said.
Both the US and India are signatories to an MLAT since 2005 which enables the two countries to pursue their common objective of law enforcement of putting in place a legal mechanism to enable them to provide to each other assistance in connection with the investigation, prosecution, prevention and suppression of crime including those relating to terrorism, narcotics, trafficking, economic and organised crime.
The treaty shall include taking the testimony or statements of persons; providing documents, records and items of evidence; locating or identifying persons or items; serving documents etc.
The officials said a Letters Rogatory for handing over the data as part of evidence will be sent later once the trial begin in the case.
On June 14, Shujaat Bukhari, the editor-in-chief of a local English daily 'Rising Kashmir', was shot dead outside his office in Srinagar when he was on his way to break his fast during the holy month of Ramzan.
The police has named banned terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba behind the attack and identified the killers as Naveed Jatt, a Pakistani national who escaped from custody in February this year, Azad Ahmed Malik and Muzafar Ahmad Bhat, both Lashkar operatives.
The police have also named Sajad Gul, a resident of Kashmir who is now based in Pakistan, as one of the conspirators in the killing of Mr Bukhari.
He had been attacking the Kashmiri scribe through his blog and it is believed that he had threatened the victim in past.
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