New Delhi: In the encounter case of a noted criminal at a Delhi restaurant, eight witnesses have supported police's version that it was Manoj Vashisht who opened the fire first and not the police. The witnesses stated that police opened fire only in response, they said on Sunday.
Statements of eight witnesses, including three waiters have been videographed by the central district police, who are investigating the matter.
One of the footage, accessed by a leading daily Indian Express, shows statement of an eye-witness Jennifer. She had come from Chennai and was sitting on the front part of the table, close to where Vashisht was sitting along with six other persons, including four women.
Jennifer told the police that she came to Delhi along with her two friends and they later met one Sanjay Vohra, who was working for Vashisht.
She told that Vashisht also ran a tour and travel business named Adventure Zine Tour and Travels and was planning to expand it from Chennai.
In her statement to police, she said, “Vashisht had problem understanding my accent so he introduced himself with the help Vohra. We were discussing something when suddenly two persons, in plain clothes, came and introduced themselves as men from Delhi Police. One of them asked Vashisht to come with him, but Vashisht suddenly took out a pistol. He was then quickly overpowered by the policemen. During the brief scuffle, he pointed his gun towards me. I got scared and hid under the table. In the meantime, I saw Vashisht had opened fire. Within seconds, I saw Vashisht collapse. His body was soon lying in a pool of blood”.
Before this she stated that she had come to Delhi four days ago and Vohra had fixed their business meeting with Vashisht on Saturday evening at the Sagar Ratna restaurant.
She told that all of them were waiting for Vohra when Vashisht, who was talking to someone over phone, came and sat with them.
As soon as the incident occurred, moment afterwards, the sleuths of the Special Cell seized the cellphones of all the people who were present at the spot and only handed them back at 1 AM, after recording the statements.
Special Cell sources also revealed that the team under the supervision of ACP Manishi Chandra was tracking the movement of Vashisht for the last 10 days.
On Saturday, the cell got the information that Vashisht would visit this restaurant in Rajendra Nagar. A team of eight police men reached the spot along with their informers and two of them sat in the restaurant.
The police source further said, “At around 8.10 pm, the accused Vashisht came to the restaurant and sat at a table along with his guests. The informers of the police identified him and the police personnel then called their senior inspector inside the restaurant. Vashisht was sitting in the middle seat and was talking with his associates when suddenly the inspector, along with his police personnel, came close and put his hand on Vashisht's shoulder. He asked him to come with him, but Vashisht then whipped out a gun… Vashisht entered into a scuffle with the inspector but then another cop overpowered him. Vashisht then opened fire and his (own) bullet hit him in the head… after hearing the gunshot, another sub-inspector opened fire in response, which hit the victim's lower back”.
Another eye-witness Sanjay Vohra told the reporters that he was sitting with the victim Vashisht in the restaurant and suddenly police were over him. He entered into a scuffle and whipped out his pistol. Later, he said, he heard only two gun shots and saw Vashisht's dead body on the floor.