Apple Techie Murder: Constable Killed Vivek Tiwari Intentionally, Finds SIT Report
Almost 80 days after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) took over the case of the Apple Executive’s murder by a police constable, the SIT has found constable Prashant Chaudhary guilty of the murder. The SIT report, that was published on December 19, said that Prashant Chaudhury intentionally fired at Vivek Tiwari. A case has been registered against the constable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code for murder. The other constable has been charged under section 323 for voluntarily causing hurt to Vivek’s ex-colleague Sana Khan.
Apple executive Vivek Tiwari was shot by a Uttar Pradesh police constable on September 28, while he was trying to drive away when he was questioned in Maqdumpur police outpost in Lucknow’s Gomtinagar locality. 38-year-old Tiwari was with an ex-colleague Sana Khan when the incident took place. Tiwari along with Sana Khan were in their parked vehicle when these two constables, who were on patrol, came to question them around 1:30 am. According to Kalanidhi Naithani, Senior Lucknow police officer, they thought it was necessary to question them because “there was some suspicious activity”.
As Tiwari tried to drive away, the constables tried to stop him. It was then that he was shot at by Prashant Kumar, and the speeding vehicle slammed into a flyover’s pillar. Tiwari was taken to Lohia hospital, where he succumbed to his bullet wound during his treatment. He was hit near his left ear. Reportedly, the police left the victim to die, and Sana had to get the help of some truck drivers to him to the hospital.
The SIT report said that Prashant shot at Vivek “without any immediate threat to his life”. “Chowdhary has been found guilty of murdering Tiwari without any provocation. The probe has revealed that the second constable had no common intention to kill Tiwari,” said inspector general Sujeet Pandey, who headed the SIT. He further said that it was a spur of the moment decision taken by the constable.
Vivek Tiwari’s wife met with the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressing her concern over the blatant atrocity committed on her husband. She expressed her concern over how her late husband’s image was being tarnished and his character was being questioned as he was with his ex-colleague.
“My husband used to call me regularly whenever he was away. He even told me that night that he was going to drop Sana (his colleague). There has been an attempt to malign his image and character.” Kalpana said. “Vivek called me that night and promised to take us for a vacation in December as two new iPhones were launched and he said the market response was very good. He also expected good sales in Diwali season,” she added, reported News18.
She filed a second FIR claiming that Sana Khan was not allowed to receive any phone calls or make any and also that she was forced to sign a blank sheet of paper. The first FIR was vague and did not have the names of the constables. On Sunday, she filed another FIR as she said that she was pressurised by the police the previous day. In the second FIR, she clearly mentioned the name of the constable who shot at Vivek.
In the meanwhile, UP law Minister, Brijesh Pathak lashed out at UP police for showing laxity and trying to hush up the entire incident. Pathak said, “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.”
Initially, a report claimed that UP police tried to hush up the matter and claimed that the two constables were not even present in the scene. Sana saw the name tags of the two police officers and hence, could give the names to the police.
Another claim made by the accused constable, Prashant Chaudhary is that Vivek tried to run over him thrice and hence, he shot in self-defense. CCTV footage accessed by News18 shows that the car was moving at a normal speed without any suspicious activity and the constables were also moving at a normal speed on their bikes without any sign of provocation. No signs of strife can be seen. Sana Khan also alleged that she was forced to sign on a blank sheet of paper and the police officer filled in the statement on their own.
Prashant’s wife filed a counter FIR against Vivek Tiwari for an attempt to murder her husband.
“When I approached the car, the driver (Vivek Tiwari) tried to run over me thrice to kill me. I fired a bullet in self-defence, he then immediately took off from the spot,” said constable Prashant Chaudhary, according to ANI.
Although initially, the police said that the constable might have opened fire in self-defence, they later accepted that excessive force had been used. Senior Uttar Pradesh Police officer Anand Kumar said it was a shameful incident for them.
“Tyranny of the police.”
The disappointed father-in-law of Tiwari, Ramesh Chandra Shukla, said it is the policemen who are to be blamed entirely.
“It is the tyranny of the police. They first killed him and are now trying to portray it as an accident,” he said.
Tiwari’s grief-stricken wife Kalpana insisted that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath speak to her. She said police had no right to shoot her husband. In a written letter to Adityanath, she also demanded a compensation of Rs 1 crore. She had asked for job security for her two daughters and urged for a CBI probe.
#WATCH Kalpana Tiwari,wife of deceased Vivek Tiwari says,"Police had no right to shoot at my husband,demand UP CM to come here&talk to me." He was injured&later succumbed to injuries after a police personnel shot at his car late last night,on noticing suspicious activity #Lucknow pic.twitter.com/buJyDWts5n
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) September 29, 2018
“Was he a terrorist that police shot at him? We choose Yogi Adityanath as our representative, we want him to take cognizance of the incident and also demand an unbiased CBI inquiry,” said Vishnu Shukla, brother-in-law of deceased Tiwari.
Tiwari’s colleague Pankaj Pandey questioned that when the constables could have easily shot at the vehicle’s wheel, why did they shot at Tiwari?
“I suspect foul play,” Pandey said.
CM Adityanath told the media that this incident was not a police encounter and that if needed, the central bureau of investigation will be handed the probe.
The Logical Indian Take
The role of the police is to protect the citizens and uphold the law. Use of excessive force in self-defence is understandable. However, if the senior officials themselves point out the flaws in the constables’ version then the need for an impartial inquiry becomes paramount. Moreover, UP CM did remark that this was “not an encounter,” but it is not that far-fetched to think that the UP police has been over-influenced by the political administration.