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Back from Pak, officer dies in RAW lift crash

New Delhi, March 20: Vipin Handa, who was recently expelled from the Indian mission in Islamabad, was killed today in what officials described as a “freak” accident.

Handa, an officer of the Indian Revenue Service on deputation in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), died when the lift in the RAW office in the CGO complex on Lodhi Road crashed. He was rushed to hospital but doctors could do little. There were three other officers with him in the lift, all of them on their way to a meeting.

The details are sketchy with RAW sealing off their office and allegedly preventing Delhi police from entering the building. An internal inquiry has been ordered into the accident. The police said the regulation post-mortem — a must in accident cases — was also dispensed with.

Initial reports suggest the others had stepped out but before Handa could follow, the lift plunged. Soon after, hearing a bang, authorities rushed to the ground floor. The door was forced open and he was taken to hospital where he was declared dead.

A fire engine reached the spot but was not allowed inside the “out-of-bound” building. “Before we reached the spot, the victim had been taken to the hospital and we were not allowed inside the building,” a fire brigade spokesman was quoted as saying by PTI. It is not known, however, why the fire engine rushed to the site as there were no reports of a fire in the building.

Handa was regarded as one of the “stars” moving on the fast track.

He was attached to the Indian embassy in Washington between 1993-1994 and his last stint abroad was as counsellor in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Handa was among the four Indian staffers expelled by Islamabad this January.

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