Wife of man killed in 'police encounter' calls it murder

The wife of a property dealer killed in an “encounter” with police at a Delhi restaurant on Saturday night has called his death a murder and has demanded that the CCTV footage of the crime spot be made public.

She has also demanded a judicial probe in the killing and alleged that Delhi Police’s Special Team had extorted money from him less than a month ago to end a case of “fraud” against him.

Speaking to the media on Sunday, the woman claimed that her husband Manoj Vashishtha was alive and responded to him when she called out his name at Sagar Ratna restaurant where he was shot dead on Saturday night.

“He moved his hand when I called out his name. I told police that he was alive and begged them to rush him to a hospital. But police did not move my husband from the spot for 35 minutes despite the presence of two major hospitals nearby,” alleged Priyanka Vashishtha.

Priyanka is a member of a zila panchayat in UP’s Baghpat district from where the couple hails. Manoj himself heads a organisation Deshbhakt Sena Trust.

 A visit to his Facebook profile throws up many photographs of him with prominent political leaders, including BJP’s Nitin Gadkari, Delhi MP Udit Raj and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.  Deccan Herald could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the photographs though.

Police claimed that it was Manoj who had first opened fire at a police team which were tipped-off about his presence at the restaurant located in central Delhi’s Rajender Nagar. Police had to fire in retaliation and one bullet that hit him took his life, they claimed.

While Priyanka said she was unaware if Manoj carried a gun around with him, she vehemently opposed the police version. “Police said four of their personnel were holding him. How could he then fire at the police team? And why did the police not shoot at his limbs first,” she said.

She went on to allege that Manoj had been beaten first before being shot. “His eyes and face were blue when I saw him,” she alleged. A senior police officer claimed that the entire incident took 10 seconds.

Priyanka has demanded that the CCTV footage of the restaurant be made public. “I don’t want excuses that there are technical faults with the CCTV footage,” she said.Annu Yadav, who had been working with Manoj for the last eight years, said that he was right outside the restaurant when Manoj was killed. “He was in a meeting with two of his friends. Suddenly I heard people rush out saying there had been an encounter inside. I was not allowed to go inside,” he said.

Manoj’s relatives and friends also claimed that they were aware of only one case against him, that of dishonoring a cheque. 

“When the Special Cell personnel began harassing him for extorting money, we filed an application with Patiala Court to know the kind of cases against him. Police replied in writing that there were no cases,” said Priyanka.

Police, however, claimed there were many cases against him, including one of manpower racket masterminded by his father-in-law. 

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