Monday, Jun 30, 2003
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By Prashant Pandey
A file photo of Gen. Niazi's pistol .
According to sources here, the pistol which went missing from the Maritime Heritage Gallery on Saturday could have belonged to some other Pakistani official. A spokesperson for the Maritime Heritage Gallery said their entry mentioned that the 7.65 mm pistol was handed over by Gen. Niazi while signing the instrument of surrender at Dhaka in 1971. "It could be possible that more than one weapon was surrendered at the time of signing of the document,'' he said.
Meanwhile, the Crime Branch of the Delhi police interrogated several employees of the National Museum, including those in the Maritime Gallery. The forensic team has lifted more than a dozen fingerprints from the spot.
According to the police, the fact that the weapon was taken out neatly after unfastening the screws indicated that the person was well aware of what he was laying his hands on.
Meanwhile, a news agency, quoting Army officials in the Capital and at the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun, said it was a revolver .38-bore Webley Scot which Gen. Niazi had surrendered to Lieutenant-General Jasjit Singh Aurora. The official was quoted as saying: "It (the revolver) is safe and we have seen it (in the IMA Museum) only yesterday.''
Talking to a news channel, the then Chief of the Eastern Command, Lieutenant-General J.F.R. Jacob, recalled the entire sequence of events on the day of surrender and categorically stated that the weapon surrendered by Niazi was a .38-bore Webley Scot. The General said that he was present at the ceremony where the instrument of surrender was signed by Gen. Niazi. Gen. Niazi handed over a .38-bore Webley Scot revolver to Gen. Aurora. The weapon was handed over to the IMA at Dehra Dun, he said.
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