Police not clear whose bullet killed Vashisht

| Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 07:50
First Published |

Police not clear whose bullet killed Vashisht

New Delhi: No one knows which bullet brought down Manoj Vashisht in the alleged shootout involving Delhi Police's Special Cell at a central Delhi restaurant on May 16 evening. Only a forensic test will now clarify the point, police officials say.

Investigators say they are trying to ascertain whether it was a bullet fired from Vashisht's pistol or that fired by Sub-Inspector Bhoop Singh that killed him.

Two bullets were fired inside the south Indian food chain Sagar Ratna restaurant in New Rajender Nagar during a scuffle between Inspector Dharmendra Kumar of the Special Cell and Vashisht.

Police investigation and the statements of 13 witnesses said the first bullet was fired by Vashisht, while the second one came from Sub-Inspector Bhoop Singh's firearm. Nine Special Cell officers had raided the restaurant to apprehend Vashisht.

However, police said "no one knows" which bullet hit Vashisht's head leading to his death.

Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) S.N. Srivastava told IANS that he was not investigating the alleged shootout as the case was already being probed by an SIT (Special Investigative team), but it is clear that without a forensic report it would be very difficult to know whose bullet hit Vashisht.

Srivastava said Bhoop Singh also did not know whether it was his bullet that hit Vashisht.

In his statement, Bhoop Singh said that Inspector Dharmendra, along with him and six other officers, entered the restaurant. Two other officers were outside the restaurant.

"Vashisht took out his pistol and pointed it at Dharmendra who, in self-defence, caught his hand, and a scuffle ensued. Both fell on the ground and a bullet got fired. S-I Bhoop Singh and constable Jitendra were a few metres away."

"Bhoop Singh then fired a bullet on Vashisht as he thought that Inspector Dharmendra was hit by Vashisht," a police source said, citing Bhoop Singh's statement.

Others present in the restaurant could not see whose bullet hit Vashisht.

Vashisht was killed in an alleged shootout of Special Cell policemen -- an elite unit specialised in combating terror activities -- at 8.15 p.m. on May 16.

The whole incident was captured in a 29-second CCTV clip from the restaurant, but the grainy footage was not useful in establishing from whose firearm the killing bullet was fired.

The clip shows two policemen in plainclothes walking up to Vashisht who took out his pistol first.

A vigilance probe was also ordered apart from the magisterial inquiry conducted by the Delhi government a day after the incident.

All the nine Special Cell policemen, Inspector Dharmendra Kumar sub-inspectors Vivek Singh and Bhoop Singh, head constables Anil Rao, Sanjay Pal and constables Manish, Abdul Ahad Khan, Jitendra and Mohit were transferred to various departments of Delhi Police to facilitate a fair probe in the controversial shootout.

"Now, we are waiting for the forensic report only which can establish the source of the bullet that killed Vashisht," said another police official of SIT probing the alleged shootout.

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