A 38-year-old Apple executive, Vivek Tiwari, was shot dead early Saturday morning by a police constable in Lucknow after he allegedly tried to evade a routine check. Calling it “excessive use of force”, the Uttar Pradesh Police have arrested two constables based on a complaint by Tiwari’s colleague who was in the car.
Tiwari, an Apple sales manager, and the colleague, Sana Khan, were on their way back home when two constables on a motorcycle approached them. According to Khan’s FIR at the Gomti Nagar police station, the car was parked near the City Montessori School in Gomti Nagar Extension.
“…Two policemen came on a motorcycle. We tried to escape them and they stopped us. Suddenly, I heard a gunshot, the car kept moving and it hit the underpass pillar. Blood was pouring from Vivek’s head. I cried for help and soon, a police team came and took Vivek to hospital. Later, I was told that he is dead,” she said in the FIR registered around 5 am.
According to the police, the bullet hit Tiwari’s neck. Lucknow Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani said that the post mortem report confirmed that he died of the bullet injury. The car Tiwari was driving has a broken windshield with a bullet hole in it while the driver’s seat is drenched in blood.
Tiwari is survived by his wife, Kalpana, and two daughters aged 12 and seven years. Hours after the incident, his family refused to cremate his body in protest until the district administration agreed to their demands of quick justice, compensation and a government job.
Promising swift action, PTI quoted Yogi Adityanath as saying: “This was not an encounter. The guilty will not be spared and, if needed, a CBI inquiry will be held.”
Adityanath’s remarks come at a time when his government has drawn sharp criticism over continuing police encounters in the state. While at least 67 people have been killed in encounters since 2017, not a single chargesheet has been filed nor action initiated against police officers involved. In May, the NHRC directed the state government to constitute a five-member team to investigate 17 of these cases.
The constables who stopped Tiwari — Prashant Chaudhary and Sandeep Kumar — posted at the Gomti Nagar police station, have been arrested and were later dismissed from their police posts. The constables have alleged that Tiwari tried to run them down and fired the shot in “self-defence”.
Calling it “murder”, Director General of Police (DGP) O P Singh constituted a special investigation team (SIT) headed by IG Lucknow range Sujeet Kumar and comprising SP Crime and Lucknow SP (Rural). A magisterial inquiry has also been recommended.
Naithani said that there was “excessive use of force”. “We have both versions with us. The police constable claims the car hit the motorcycle and tried to run him over. He has some injury marks on his knees as his leg was reportedly stuck in the bike when he fell on the ground,” he said.
“For now we have enough evidence against the constable. The situation could have been avoided and there was excessive use of force.”
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that he had spoken to Adityanath. “I have asked the chief minister to take effective and just action in the matter,” he said on Twitter. In Gorakhpur, Adityanath said that said the guilty will not be spared and if needed the CBI will be asked to probe the case.
Speaking to reporters at the police station, constable Chaudhary said: “I was patrolling when around 1.30-2 am, I saw a suspicious car. The car was not moving and the headlights were off. I was not able to see anything inside. I stopped my bike in front of the car. Suddenly the car started moving and rammed into my bike.”
“The car then reversed and I signalled the driver to stop. He came again and ran over me. When he tried to move towards me a third time with an intention to kill, I took out my pistol and signalled him to stop. He did not and I fired the shot in self-defence. I wasn’t even sure if the bullet hit him.”
Tiwari’s wife Kalpana questioned the functioning of the police and demanded a meeting with the Chief Minister. “They killed an innocent. They are saying that he did not stop the car. In that case, they should have fired on the tyre and the car would have stopped. They miss shots when firing on actual criminals but here, they shot my husband with a single shot,” she said.
“The bullet hit the car from the front. What was the need to shoot him in the head? Can someone tell me? Where should I go and what should I tell my daughters?”
She said: “I want these policemen to suffer for their whole life as I am going to suffer. I want justice. Yogiji should tell me what I will tell my children about how their father died. If they do not want to fulfil my demands then they should shoot me and my daughters just like they did my husband,” Kalpana said.
An Apple spokesperson said: “We are shocked and heartbroken by the news of our colleague Vivek Tiwari. We extend our deepest sympathies to Vivek’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Lucknow District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said that the government has accepted the demands of the family and that the cremation will take place Sunday morning. “Their first demand of an SIT and a magisterial inquiry has already been accepted and if they want a CBI investigation, that too will be recommended,” he said.
“Their second demand of a job has been accepted and within 30 days we will start the process to give his wife, Kalpana, a job in the Nagar Nigam. We have also agreed to increase the compensation amount from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh,” Sharma said.