Cops recced twice before Vashisht's encounter

The Delhi Police Special Cell team involved in the encounter of Manoj Vashisht had shared his photograph on their mobile phones.

An inspector and a sub-inspector in plainclothes had also separately conducted a recce of Sagar Ratna Restaurant and sat on tables near Manoj’s table to confirm his identity.

On positive identification, Inspector Dharmender Kumar, who was also leading the team, had tapped Manoj’s shoulder and told him to surrender. Manoj, however, had opened fire and was shot dead by the police team. Police have released the CCTV footage of the restaurant which confirms the sequence of events.

In their official statement, police claimed they had assembled at the restaurant in central Delhi’s Old Rajinder Nagar around 8 pm, and Sub-Inspector Bhoop Singh had first conducted a recce.

Bhoop had seen Manoj sitting on a table in the middle of the restaurant wearing a blue shirt and jeans. The police team had also checked with the restaurant’s security guard about the number of entry and exit points.

“The security guard had made it clear that there was only one entry and exit to the restaurant,” said a police officer.

However, before making a move to apprehend Manoj, Inspector Dharmender wanted to personally carry out another recce of the restaurant. He was carrying Manoj’s photograph on his mobile phone.

Dharmender went inside alone and directed the team to wait for his phone call before entering the restaurant. “Dharmender casually went inside and took an empty table on the left side of Manoj’s table reported by Bhoop,” the officer added.

The view from Dharmender’s table was not very clear due to which, he left the table and walked across to occupy another table which was almost in front of Manoj’s table.

On having a clear view and a confirmation of Manoj’s identity, Dharmender called up Bhoop and told him to make a move with team. The order was to quietly surround Manoj to apprehend him. Soon, the police team entered the restaurant.

On seeing his team, Dharmender moved towards Manoj’s table and ‘gently tapped’ his shoulder from behind. Dharmender told Manoj to get up disclosing that he was a police officer. Suddenly, Manoj stood up and tried to leave, on which, Dharmender tried to overpower him.

“In no time, the accused whipped his right hand towards his waist and with a violent shake of his body, managed to pull out a shiny pistol while jerking off my grip. This act on the part of the accused surprised me and before I could react, he had cocked the pistol,” Dharmender has said in his official statement.

Dharmender again tried to overpower Manoj and dislodge the loaded pistol. In the ensuing scuffle, there was a chaos in the restaurant and other guests started running around.

“I gripped his arm holding the pistol in order to disarm him. Suddenly, the accused fired from his pistol,” Dharmender added.

Dharmender claimed to have heard two more gunshots before Manoj collapsed and his pistol dropped off from his hand. Police said Bhoop had fired a shot in retaliation.

Manoj had been hit in the head and was declared dead on the spot.
Manoj, 45, who hailed from Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district, was staying at a hotel in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh.

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