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‘Why did police shoot’: Family of Apple executive killed in UP wants CBI probe

Vivek Tiwari, a local employee of tech giant Apple, was allegedly shot by an Uttar Pradesh police constable well past midnight on Friday in Lucknow’s Gomtinagar

india Updated: Sep 30, 2018 09:29 IST
Rohit Singh/Chandan Kumar
Rohit Singh/Chandan Kumar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Apple executive killed in UP,UP Police,Vivek Tiwari
Vivek Tiwari’s wife Kalpana mourns his death, in Lucknow. Tiwari was shot dead after he allegedly refused to stop his car for checking in the posh Gomti Nagar area, police said. (PTI Photo)

Alleging foul play by the police, family members of Vivek Tiwari initially refused to cremate his body on Saturday seeking the direct intervention of chief minister Yogi Adityanath and an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Tiwari, a local employee of tech giant Apple, was allegedly shot by an Uttar Pradesh police constable well past midnight on Friday in Lucknow’s Gomtinagar when he was returning home with a friend from a party. The bullet hit Vivek’s throat right below his chin.

“Why did police kill him without any warning? He was not a criminal. We want the chief minister to announce a CBI investigation into his death to ensure the strictest punishment to his killers,” said Vivek’s wife, Kalpana Tiwari.

According to officials familiar with the development, late in evening the family agreed to cremate the body on Sunday morning after the government sanctioned compensation of Rs 25 lakh.

The two constables, who stopped Tiwari’s car, and Sana Khan, who was with him in the vehicle, had different versions of the incident.

Khan said the constables tried to stop their vehicle when Tiwari on his way to drop her home, and in the process the car grazed against the police motorbike parked on the road.

Read: ‘Tyranny of the police’, says father-in-law of Apple executive shot dead by UP cop

“Vivek moved the vehicle ahead and in the process it brushed against the motorcycle. Then one of the constables fired from the front without any warning,” she alleged.

Khan claimed she realised Tiwari had been hit only when he slumped in his seat and the car rammed into a pillar. “I came out but by then the constable had fled. As I tried to stop truckers for help, another police team reached there,” she said.

Prashant Chowdhary, the constable accused of firing at Tiwari, claimed the car was parked by the side of the road with the head lights switched off. “The driver (Vivek Tiwari) tried to run me over thrice when I asked the occupants in the vehicle to come out. I fired in self defence,” he claimed before the media. Later in the day, he changed his statement and said he pulled out his pistol to threaten Tiwari but it went off accidentally.

Tiwari’s family claimed that the sequence of events clearly showed that he had been murdered. “It was a murder. He was shot from the front,” alleged Tiwari’s brother-in-law, Vishnu Shukla.

The family members also questioned the promptness with which the constable fired on Tiwari. “My husband was not a terrorist; neither was he carrying a gun. How can police shoot at an unarmed person so easily,” Kalpana asked senior police officials who visited her residence.

The accused constables reportedly told their seniors that they opened fire believing criminals were inside the vehicle. The family countered the claim that if anyone had been inside, they would have been visible as vehicle windows were not tinted.

“All the windows of the SUV were transparent and one could easily see the occupants inside. The police constables should have at least enquired or warned him before opening fire,” Shukla said. Although the SSP, Lucknow police, has ordered that the case be shifted to a special investigation team (SIT) headed by the SP (crime), family members are sceptical whether the local police will ensure fair probe.

Kalpana Tiwari, in a letter addressed to the chief minister, demanded Rs 1 crore as compensation and a police job as per her qualification. “Vivek was the sole earner in our family. How will my children survive,” she asked.

First Published: Sep 30, 2018 08:30 IST