Heard lawyers might free clients from cell: ASI who fired 2 rounds during Tis Hazari clash

Mahender Singh Manral
During Saturday’s clash at Tis Hazari. (Express)

In his statement to police, an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) who fired two rounds during the Tis Hazari clash has claimed he did so on hearing that some lawyers were planning to break into the court lock-up and help some inmates escape.

The ASI is one of 21 personnel who were injured and have recorded their statements with a Crime Branch special investigation team (SIT), headed by Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik.

Sources said the SIT is corroborating the claims made by the personnel with CCTV footage from the court complex. “In his statement, the ASI, posted with the 3rd Battalion, said he was in-charge of the police lock-up and he tried to stop lawyers as per standard operating procedure. He highlighted the rules before the SIT, issued by the Delhi Police, which mention that the lock-up in-charge can use excessive force to disperse a crowd if it is breaking the lock-up. He claimed several lawyers had barged into the lock-up and attacked policemen there,” a police source said.

“He further claimed police first used pepper spray, but advocates didn’t stop and tried to break the lock-up. He said he came to know that some advocates were allegedly planning to break in and free some clients lodged inside. He trained his revolver on the gate from a height with an intention to disperse the crowd, but one of the two bullets hit a lawyer,” the source said.

The team comprises three inspectors from different units of the Crime Branch, including ACP Arvind Yadav.

“With help of CCTV footage and video recorded by the policemen, the SIT has so far identified eight advocates who allegedly created a ruckus and vandalised court property. At 3.32 pm, they also damaged a camera installed outside the entrance gate,” the source said.