Eatery encounter: 13 present at site but no one saw who shot Vashisht

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 22, 2015 12:50 IST

A special investigation team (SIT) is still struggling to piece together the exact sequence of events leading to the death of a suspected cheat, Manoj Vashisht, who was killed in a police encounter inside a restaurant in central Delhi last Saturday.

Even though the SIT recorded statements of 13 people present inside the restaurant at the time of the incident, none of them were able to give a clear picture of what happened.

The CCTV footage from the restaurant also did not help establish the sequence as it was grainy and pixilated.

“There was utter commotion inside the restaurant as soon as the scuffle between the inspector and Vashisht broke out. After the first round was fired, people started rushing out of the restaurant. Some ducked under tables and no one clearly saw what exactly happened. Despite so many people being inside the restaurant, no one is giving us a clear picture of what happened. The CCTV footage is also pixilated and the details of the scuffle cannot be seen clearly,” police said.

The police have not been able to establish if Vashisht died of a police bullet or his own. While the police claim that Vashisht was hit by a police bullet on his head that led to his death, a theory that a bullet fired from Vashisht’s own pistol may have led to his death is doing the rounds.

Some of the eyewitnesses claimed that Vashisht stood up with a jerk when the police official came from behind and kept his hand on his shoulder, and whipped out a silver pistol from his pocket.

The eyewitnesses claimed two police officials tried to overpower Vashisht and held his hand trying to snatch the pistol.

In the process, all three of them fell on the floor and a shot was fired from Vashisht’s pistol. It is, however, unclear if that shot hit Vashisht or not.

The eyewitnesses told us that they just heard the gunshots. What they saw next was Vashisht lying on the floor in a pool of blood. It is for the ballistic report to establish which bullet killed Vashisht, police said.

“The ballistic report will help us indentify which bullet hit Vashisht that led to his death and who fired it. We have lifted gunpowder samples from the palms of both Vashisht and Bhoop Singh. If Vashisht died of his own bullet then the gunpowder on his hand will match with the bullet that led to his death. If the gunpowder lifted from Bhoop Singh’s hand matches with the bullet that killed Vashisht, it will be clear that he died of the police bullet,” a senior police officer said.

“We have visited the crime scene and carried out a reconstruction exercise with the witnesses and are investigating the matter. The postmortem and the ballistic report which are still awaited will definitely give some strong clues,” he added.

The police are also yet to get the post-mortem report which would shed more light on the case.

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