The July 10 encounter in which “dreaded gangster” Vikas Dubey was killed “can never be termed as ‘fake encounter’ looking at the incident in totality”, Uttar Pradesh Police has told the Supreme Court.
In an affidavit filed in the top court, UP Director General of Police (DGP) Hitesh Chandra Awasthy said the Special Task Force (STF) personnel had no option but to return the fire in “self defence” as Dubey snatched a pistol and fled while being taken to Kanpur.
Narrating what had happened, the affidavit said the STF team was already in Gwalior when news of Dubey’s arrest in Ujjain came on July 9. The STF team then reached Ujjain, took him in custody and brought him till Guna, 253 km away, in a vehicle with UP registration.
At Guna, teams from STF headquarters and that of the Investigating Officer (probing the July 2 incident in which eight police personnel were killed) from Kanpur met the convoy. The IO took custody of Dubey and from there he was taken in an SUV, a TUV 300, according to the affidavit.
At about 6.35 am on July 10, when the convoy reached Sachendi (village area of Kanpur city), heavy rain started at Barajor Toll Plaza. “After getting down from elevated road, Bharat CNG petrol pump was crossed, in front of Kanhaya Lal Hospital, a herd of cattle suddenly came running on the road from the right side. The vehicle was moving fast when the driver… tried to swerve the vehicle to the left, the SUV hit a divider at high speed and vehicle got overturned,” the affidavit said.
All four police personnel in the SUV were seriously injured and lost consciousness, the police said. Dubey, the DGP said, then snatched the pistol from Inspector Ramakant Pachauri, who was sitting near him, and escaped through the back door of the SUV.
Meanwhile, the vehicle of the STF reached the spot and Dy SP T B Singh was told by one of the injured policemen that Dubey had escaped with the pistol.
The police party led by Singh pursued him. Dubey fired nine rounds. Though Singh was hit in the chest, he escaped as he was wearing a bulletproof jacket. The STF team “asked” Dubey “to surrender” but he “continued to flee and fire”. Two STF personnel suffered injuries. “In self defence, the members of the STF team fired six shots at Vikas Dubey. Three shots hit gangster Vikas Dubey. He was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead,” the affidavit said.
The police said Dubey was not handcuffed as there were 15 personnel and three vehicles to escort him directly to the Kanpur court where he had to be produced within 24 hours of arrest.
The police also denied reports that it had stopped media vehicles from trailing the convoy.
Dubey and 80-90 of his gang members were involved in the July 2 “brutal massacre” of eight policemen, it said. The gang “brutally cut the Circle Officer’s (Devender Mishra) leg after shooting him dead”, it said, adding they “mutilated the bodies of the policemen”.
On allegations that authorities demolished Dubey’s house illegally, the police said that on July 4, there was information that deadly weapons were “embedded in the walls, floor…”
“In the process of excavating the weapons and explosives from hollow walls of the house, the load bearing capacity of the walls reduced… Hence JCB machine was used for further recovery. In the process of recovery some part of building collapsed,” the DGP explained.
The affidavit said Dubey, who was serving life sentence in a case and was out on parole, “not only had a strong reason and motive to flee from police custody… but had the capacity, potential and experience of attacking the police personnel and killing them which in fact happened on 10.07.2020… The only option available to the escort party, under the circumstances, was to fire back in self defence”.
The state, it said, has set up a Commission of Enquiry to probe the incident. An SIT headed by the UP Additional Chief Secretary has also been set up to look into Dubey’s crimes and the alleged collusion between him, police and politicians. In addition, a Special Team under SP, Crime, Kanpur Nagar is also investigating.