Vivek Tiwari murder: Only justice can heal our wounds, says family
A year after Apple executive Vivek Tiwari was allegedly shot dead by a police constable in Lucknow, his family continues to await justice.
Speaking about the case, which is being heard in a Lucknow court, Tiwari’s widow, Kalpana, said, “We are hopeful that the constables who were responsible for Vivek’s death will be given the harshest punishment because they killed an innocent man -- someone who was dedicated to his family and work...someone who had not visited a police station even once in his life.”
Tiwari was shot by constable Prashant Chaudhary near Maqdoompur police outpost, under Gomti Nagar police station limits, on the intervening night of September 28-29 last year. Vivek was in his SUV with his co-worker, Sana Khan, when Chaudhary and another constable, Sandeep Singh, allegedly came in front of the vehicle. Chaudhary reportedly shot at Vivek and the bullet hit him in the neck, killing him a few moments later.
Tiwari had left his office late that night after the sales launch of new phones. Ironically, his last message on a whatsapp group of his co-workers was “Guys, please TC (take care)” .
Initially, Lucknow police officials had claimed that Chaudhary had fired in self defence. However, later, they retracted their statement and arrested both Chaudhary and Singh.
The state police formed a special investigation team (SIT) headed by the then Inspector General (Lucknow zone) Sujeet Pandey. A magisterial inquiry was also set up.
Despite that Tiwari’s family continues to fight for justice even as they struggle to bring their lives back on track. Kalpana said she experienced bouts of emotional outbursts for months after the incident and immersed herself in her work and caring for her two daughters. After her husband’s ruthless murder, the state government appointed her an officer on special duty at the Lucknow Municipal Corporation.
“Vivek had dreamed of many things for our daughters and I am trying to fulfil those dreams,” she said in a voice choked with grief with her younger daughter, Divyanshi, 7, sitting beside her. The little girl still can’t comprehend death and believes that her father has gone to Delhi for some work. However, the incident deeply disturbed her elder sister, Priyanshi, 13, who still dreams of her father pleading his innocence.
Their maternal uncle, Vishnu, said, “Priyanshi was very close to her father and his death has impacted her the most. It also impacted her academic performance briefly but now, she is doing her best to concentrate on her studies.”
Single eye witness
The murder case hinges on the account of the only eyewitness, Sana Khan, who was with Tiwari when he was shot dead. She worked with Tiwari and the latter was on his way to drop her after work on the fateful night. Sana had to move out of the city after the incident but she remained firm on her stand.
“She has been called numerous times for hearings and has been cross examined several times but she has remained brave,” said Vishnu. “She was also pressurised many times but she has stood her ground,” he added.
Sensitisation training for cops
Following the incident, district police personnel were given sensitisation training, including how to behave with public, how to manage difficult situations and education about protocols of firearms usage. Senior police officials said it was the first time that such a training was provided to police personnel.