A magisterial probe into the fatal “accidental” shooting of a 19-year-old at the hands of an inspector last July during a clash between the police and stunt bikers in central Delhi has questioned the force’s version of the incident and even hinted that Karan Pandey was not part of a biker gang — as his family has been saying all along.
The police had claimed that some 30-35 bikers had pelted them with stones, forcing them to open fire to save their lives. But the report into the July 28, 2013 firing, a copy of which is with HT, says “The entire incident of heavy stone-pelting is highly doubtful in the light of CCTV footage and statements of witnesses, which could have caused life threatening risk to PCR (police control room) officials.”
Footage from nine cameras was scanned by the probe panel.
Riding pillion with a friend, Pandey was killed when a PCR inspector allegedly fired at the bike’s tyre but missed, with a bullet lodging in Pandey’s lower back.
It couldn’t be established that the inspector had fired on the tyre, the report says. He usually fired from the right hand but on that day, had used the left, which probably disturbed his balance, says the report, adding police used unnecessary force.
Phone calls and SMSes sent to Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi went unanswered. DCP (New Delhi) SBS Tyagi said they haven’t received the report, so couldn’t comment on it.
The CCTV footage available from near Buta Singh Chambery on Ashoka Road shows a biker with a pillion rider speeding and being followed by PCR Van, says the report. The footage is clear and doesn’t show any stone pelting. “Nowhere in the footage can bikers be seen pelting stones at the PCR” says the report.
The report also hints that Pandey was not part of the stunt-biker gang and was probably out for a late-night snack.
Pandey’s family has been accused the police of murdering the young man, an only child. “We have been saying that he was murdered and the inquiry proved the same. Action must be taken against the cops now,” said Manju Pandey, his mother.
A five-member team led by New Delhi district magistrate Ameya Abhyankar conducted the probe and has submitted the report to lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung and Delhi’s home department.