A DAY after eight police personnel, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), were killed during a raid to arrest history-sheeter Vikas Dubey in Bikru village in Kanpur, the station officer (SO) of the police station concerned was suspended pending an inquiry into links with Dubey.
Officers suspect Dubey was tipped off about the raid early Friday morning, helping him escape even as his men held off the police team. Sources said the Special Task Force (STF) that is probing the shootout is questioning Chaubeypur Police Station SO Vinay Tiwari. DGP Hitesh Chandra Awasthy confirmed that a probe was on into Tiwari’s “role in the case”.
Police had gone to arrest Dubey, a former zila panchayat member who carries a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head, in connection with an attempt to murder FIR.
On Saturday, Dubey’s house in Bikru village was demolished. While a police team was present at the spot and said locals had accused Dubey of usurping their land to build the house, it denied any hand in the demolition later.
Admitting that they are probing if Dubey was tipped off about the raid, Inspector General (IG), Kanpur Range, Mohit Agarwal told The Sunday Express that Dubey’s men were well-prepared for the police team “and the informant could be from the police itself”. “If that is the case, the police personnel who leaked the information would be sent to jail and dismissed,” the IG said.
A senior police officer said they were also probing if only SO Tiwari had links with Dubey, for personal gains, or more personnel from the police station were involved. “Using call details we will find out how frequently the SO was talking to Dubey,” the officer said.
IG Agarwal had earlier said they had heard of an altercation between Dubey and the complainant in the attempt to murder FIR against him, in front of the SO.
What has also brought Tiwari’s role under a cloud is his failure to alert the police on what they could face during the early Friday morning raid. “The Station Officer has been posted in the area long enough (since January 31) to know what the situation in the village was like and if Dubey could be dangerous. When the force was going for a raid past midnight, why didn’t he warn them?” the senior officer said.
ADG, Kanpur Zone, Jai Narain Singh told The Indian Express Friday that with better assessment of the situation, a PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary) or SWAT team could have been sent.
A team of around 20 policemen, including DSP and Bilhaur Circle Officer Devendra Kumar Mishra (in-charge of Chaubeypur, Bithoor and Shivrajpur), had arrived at Bikru village at 1.30 am on Friday to arrest Dubey. They were met with heavy fire by automatic weapons.
DGP Awasthy said one of the cases against Dubey they are looking at again is the murder of BJP leader Santosh Shukla on the Shivli Police Station campus in Kanpur Dehat district in 2001. Dubey was the prime accused in the killing of Shukla, who was then chairman of the Contract Labour Board. In 2003, a local court acquitted Dubey and others for want of evidence, and Awasthy said they were trying to determine the status of an appeal filed in the Allahabad High Court against it in 2005.
On Saturday, a JCB was used to demolish the boundary wall as well as a large portion of Dubey’s house, spread over 10,000 sq ft, in Bikru, soon after a police team reached the village. Two SUVs parked on the premises were also damaged.
Only Dubey’s father, who needs assistance moving around, and his domestic help and her family are currently in the house, which has CCTV cameras all around.
Asked about the demolition, IG Agarwal told reporters, “Yesterday, when I visited the village, locals claimed that he (Dubey) had captured their land using threats to build the house. The house was a centre of crime and criminals used to regularly visit it. People were in anguish.”
Later, Agarwal told The Sunday Express, “Locals complained about him issuing threats but I have no information that Vikas’s house has been demolished. Police have no role in it.”
No other senior police or administration official was ready to speak on the matter, and it was not clear under what legal process the house was razed. ADG Singh and ADG, Law and Order, Prashant Kumar did not reply to queries on the matter.
Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Bilhor, P N Rai said he had no information regarding the demolition.
On Saturday, police also lodged an FIR against 21 people, mostly residents of Bikru village, and 50-60 unidentified people in connection with the killing of the eight police personnel.
The Kanpur police is conducting raids across the state to trace Dubey and 20 others. The Lucknow police searched Dubey and his brother Deep Prakash’s houses in the city.
Dubey’s house in Lucknow was found locked. Police said his wife and two sons, who live there, were not present.
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Krishna Nagar, Deepak Singh said Dubey’s mother and sister-in-law were picked up from his brother’s house for questioning and later released. Police seized two Ambassdor cars and a motorcycle as the family reportedly couldn’t produce documents regarding them.
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