Delhi police yet to place request for autopsy

NEW DELHI NOV. 7. Ninety-six hours after the shootout at the capital's busy Ansal Plaza shopping mall — where the Delhi police claim to have gunned down two dreaded Pakistan-backed terrorists after a three-month-long chase — the police are yet to submit an official request for an autopsy.

The post-mortem examination, which is to be held at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, could end the speculation and allegations surrounding the encounter. Police said they were awaiting clearance from the Union Home Ministry. The allegation is that the Delhi police have staged an encounter after having "drugged and beaten'' the duo.

Under rules, any unidentified body is kept in the mortuary for 72 hours for a claimant, during which police carry out its inquest (inquiring into the cause of the death) following which it places a request for an autopsy.

"In this case, the identity and cause of death are known and it is strange that despite over 96 hours police are yet to place an official request in a case where the post-mortem report can settle the controversy and give us the true picture,'' say sources.

An eyewitness, Dr. Hari Krishna, has claimed that the two `terrorists' were unarmed when shot dead by police. Questions are being raised about the `black eye' of one of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists.

Meanwhile, investigators said the SIM card of the mobile recovered from the terrorists was procured from a South Delhi-based dealer. The shopkeeper is said to have told the police that the SIM card was given on the basis of identification papers issued in Jammu and Kashmir. The special cell has sent a team to Jammu and Kashmir to verify the contents. The SIM card is said to have contained three Pakistani numbers.

The Joint Commissioner of Police, Special Cell, Neeraj Kumar, said that another team has been sent to Maharashtra to probe the terrorists links, if any, with the underworld and their accomplices suspected to be hiding there — Mumbra in Thane especially — on the basis of information obtained from their diaries.

Police said they had questioned Mohammed Gulrez, owner of the car used by the terrorists, and found him innocent. Gulrez said he bought the car in Lucknow in February and it was stolen in July. The car was first registered at Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. A team has been sent there to trace its first owner.

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