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Guilty will not be spared, say cops probing murder of Apple executive

The police have provided security to the Apple executive’s family amid fears of a threat to their lives.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2018 23:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Apple executive murder,Uttar pradesh,Gomti
Vivek Tewari was an executive of Apple in Lucknow.(HT Photo)

An executive of global tech company Apple Inc was cremated in the presence of Uttar Pradesh ministers and family members on Sunday, a day after a constable allegedly shot him dead in Lucknow’s Gomti Nagar as the 38-year-old tried to drive away from two policemen on patrol duty.

Additional director general of police Rajeev Krishna said a special investigation team (SIT) set up to probe the incident visited the spot where Vivek Tiwari was killed around 1.30am on Saturday and collected forensic samples. Tiwari was unarmed when he was killed.

“All the aspects are being looked into the SIT probe. We have visited the spot with forensic teams and ballistic experts and collected details including articles found there, tyre marks, etc. I met family members of the victim... I will share details with the SIT and the guilty will not be spared. Action will be taken against those involved in the act in any way, including hiding evidence or trying to shield accused,” the ADG said about the status of the investigation amid allegations by family members that some policemen were trying to protect the accused.

Tiwari was travelling in his car with a female friend, a former colleague, when the incident took place. Two constables, identified as Prashant Chaudhary and Sandeep Kumar, were arrested on the basis of an FIR lodged by Tiwari’s friend, Sana Khan.

Krishna said a fresh FIR of murder was lodged against the two constables on Sunday after a complaint by the victim’s wife that local policemen were trying to fabricate the sequence of events and shield the accused. He said the complaint was booked “under a special provision to register fresh FIR or second FIR in the same matter”.

The police have provided security to the Apple executive’s family amid fears of a threat to their lives.

Inspector general Sujit Pandey said the police would also look into reports that relatives and friends of the accused constables, who were sacked from the police force after the incident, were collecting funds through social media campaigns to support them. “We will take into consideration all the points raised by media in their reports and the probe will be scientific,” said Pandey, who is leading the SIT.

State minister Brijesh Pathak and MLA Ashutosh Tondon and senior police officials were among hundreds who attended Tiwari’s funeral. “It’s an unfortunate incident and we are with the family members of the victim. We will try to fast-track the case so that the family can get justice. I will also request principal secretary home and the DGP to post sensitive policemen in big cities,” Pathak said at the cremation site.

Kalpana Tiwari, the wife of the Apple area sales manager, demanded that she be allowed to meet the CM. “I am worried about the future of my two daughters... They have snatched away the lone bread earner of the family. I will not relent till justice is done,” she said. The executive is survived by his wife, and two daughters, aged seven and 12.

Kalpana said the killing of her husband should not be politicised. Her remark came after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted to say that the “BJP is not a well-wisher of Hindus”.

Reacting to the tweet, Kalpana said: “Kejriwal ji is a sensible person. How can he say such a thing? This issue is not related to caste. Everything should not be connected with caste.”

The police initially said the constable may have fired in self-defence, but later conceded that excessive force had been used by the policemen. Chaudhary has changed his statement to say he pulled out the pistol to threaten the driver, but discharged the weapon accidentally.

Tiwari and his friend were in an SUV at around 1.30am on Saturday when the two policemen on patrol duty stopped them, senior superintendent of police Kalanidhi Naithanisaid on Saturday, adding that the constables questioned the duo because they felt “there was some suspicious activity”.

Naithani added that Tiwari tried to reverse the car and drive away, allegedly hitting the motorcycle of the policemen. It was around this time that his friend, Khan, heard a gunshot, according to her statement, he added. Police quoted Khan as saying that the vehicle speeded up and crashed into the pillar of a flyover nearby.

Tiwari later died at a hospital after being taken there by an emergency response team of the Uttar Pradesh Police. Khan has not directly corroborated this sequence of events.The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Uttar Pradesh government has been criticised by political opponents over the incident. Former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav called for his successor Yogi Adityanath’s resignation and alleged that “there have been numerous fake encounters under this government”.

Uttar Pradesh Police have been engaged in a month-long drive against crime, allegedly gunning down dozens of suspected gangsters. Chief minister Aditynath said on Saturday that the case of Tiwari’s death “was not an encounter.”

The state’s director general of police OP Singh said no amount of apology would suffice for the loss of a precious life or heal and wounds of the devastated family. “We are determined to punish and wean out such rogues in uniform who hang our heads in shame, at the same time we have also embarked on systemic reforms through behavioural training and humanisation of the force,” the DGP said.

First Published: Sep 30, 2018 23:55 IST