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‘Voice’ of witness deepens mystery

New Delhi, Nov. 7: The mystery surrounding the Ansal Plaza shootout deepened today after the eyewitness, who claimed that police killed two “unarmed” men, surfaced after being incommunicado but refused to add to what he said and insisted Delhi police were not threatening him.

“The National Human Rights Commission had unnecessarily sought police protection for me,” a man who claimed he was Dr Hari Krishna told a TV channel over phone. “I do not want to discuss what I saw on that day.” He added that he was not being threatened or harassed by the police and claimed he was not hiding but had gone to meet his sister.

Delhi police, in its reply to the rights panel, said they had complied with all its directives, including giving protection to the witness, said an official spokesperson of the commission.

But the BJP took exception to the petition filed by rights activists Kuldeep Nayyar and Praful Bidwai before the commission for full protection to Krishna and his family. “If the discrediting of security forces is done by some so-called human rights activists without any basis, in that event, these activists bring a bad name to human rights,” said party spokesman Arun Jaitley.

After the supposed encounter on November 3 with the two alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, Krishna was quoted as saying: “The two young men were unarmed and shot dead by the police.” He had not been available since, giving rise to speculation that he had gone into hiding fearing police reprisal. He was not in his Greater Kailash-II home for most of the afternoon. Even in the evening, no one picked up the phone.

With the police action under the scanner, Delhi police’s special cell claimed that the SIM card of the mobile phone recovered from one of the militants was purchased from a south Delhi dealer. Investigations have revealed that the militants used the identity card of a Jammu and Kashmir-based institution to procure the SIM card. A team has been sent to the Valley to verify the authenticity of the identity card, deputy commissioner of police (special cell) Ashok Chand said today.

The police claim that three calls were made from the mobile phone. One of them was to Adam Cheema, the operational commander of the Lashkar. Another police team has been sent to Mumbai following information that Abu Anas, one of those killed, was operating from there.

The police also questioned Mohammad Gulrez, the owner of the Maruti 800 used by the militants. They said Gulrez bought the car in February 2002 from a car bazaar in Lucknow.

Police have not decided when the post-mortem would be conducted. Officials said the special cell is awaiting the clearance from the foreign ministry.

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