Plice Constable Balasaheb Aher, who sustained injuries in Saturday night’s shootout at the Vakola police station, has said in his statement that while he heard gunshots and rushed towards the sound to help, he did not see Assistant Sub Inspector Dilip Shirke actually shoot Senior Police Inspector Vilas Joshi.
Shirke had allegedly shot Joshi thrice outside the latter’s cabin at the police station on Saturday night, and Aher, who rushed to help, was injured by a splinter of a round that ricocheted off a wall during the shootout. He then turned the gun on himself.
While he was declared dead before admission at the V N Desai hospital in Santacruz, Joshi succumbed to his injuries while being operated at the Lilavati Hospital hours later.
“We recorded Aher’s statement and asked him about the sequence of events on Saturday. He said that he was standing near Joshi’s vehicle as the latter was about to leave when he heard the gunshots and rushed towards the cabin. However, he has said that he did not see Shirke shooting Joshi,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection) Dhananjay Kulkarni.
On Monday, the Crime Branch Unit VIII, which is conducting inquiries into the incident, also recorded statements from eight police personnel from the Vakola police station, who were present at the station house on Saturday night.
“This case has to be treated like any other murder case and we have to get ample corroborative evidence to establish that Shirke shot Joshi before shooting himself,” said a Crime Branch officer.
Of the eight policemen who gave their statements on Monday, only one, a police constable who was outside Joshi’s cabin, has given a statement saying that he saw Shirke shoot Joshi and then himself. The witnesses have further told the police that there were two sets of gun shots with a five to seven minute gap between them.
“Investigations so far have established that Shirke signed his weapon out of the armoury at around 7:30 pm, whereas the shooting occurred at 8:30 pm. We are now focusing on this one hour period, which will help us build an accurate picture of his movements as well as his state of mind during this time,” the officer added.
The Crime Branch has sent the empty shells ejected from Shirke’s pistol to the Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Kalina for ballistic tests and forensic analysis, and have asked for a comparison with the bullets extracted from the bodies of both the deceased as part of evidence building. The clothes worn by Shirke and Joshi will soon be sent to the FSL as well. The police have further asked for Call Data Records of Shirke’s cell phone to find out who he spoke to on Saturday, and these people will also be contacted for inquiries. Statements will later be recorded from his family.
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