A week after the botched raid at the Kanpur residence of history-sheeter Vikas Dubey led to the killing of eight policemen, the notorious gangster was shot dead Friday when he allegedly tried to escape from the police custody. The case has now snowballed into a political controversy, with opposition leaders alleging a bigger plot behind Dubey’s killing, a day after his arrest in Madhya Pradesh.
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The hunt for Vikas Dubey–his arrest and killing
Absconding for almost a week, Dubey was arrested on the premises of the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh on Thursday. According to Ujjain SP Manoj Kumar Singh, Dubey had bought a Rs 250 ticket for VIP darshan at the temple. As he was leaving, the security guards asked him his name, and an argument ensued. He was overpowered by guards on the temple premises. Eventually, Dubey disclosed his identity and was taken to the police station where senior officers took over the matter, SP Singh said.
In a video circulated widely, Dubey is heard shouting “Vikas Dubey hoon Kanpur wala (I am Vikas Dubey of Kanpur)”, after which a policeman slaps him and tries to force him into a police vehicle.
Later in the day, a team of the UP Police Special Task Force (STF) reached Ujjain, and was given custody of Dubey. The STF had taken him to Kanpur by road.
Early on Friday morning, Dubey was shot dead after he allegedly tried to escape from police custody in Kanpur. At around 7.00 am, the vehicle in which Dubey was being brought to Kanpur overturned after it met with an accident in Sachendi area of Kanpur, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Kanpur, Dr Anil Kumar said.
Taking advantage of the accident, Dubey, the police claimed, attempted to flee with a service pistol belonging to one of the officers. In the meantime, another police team escorting the vehicle in which the gangster was travelling in, arrived at the spot. They gheraoed the area and commenced a combing operation to catch Dubey.
On seeing the police team closing in on him, Dubey allegedly opened fire. Two officers were wounded in the incident, the police said. In retaliation, the police fired at Dubey, injuring him. All three injured persons were rushed to a hospital, where doctors declared Dubey dead, said Dr Kumar.
Dubey had received four bullet injuries, three of them in the chest, said the principal of a medical college where the gangster was brought, PTI reported. The post-mortem report is yet to be made public. The police have persuaded Dinesh Tiwari, Dubey’s brother-in-law, to take the body in his custody and perform the last rites. The body was later taken to Bhairoghat amid heavy security for the last rites.
Botched raid in Kanpur
On the night of July 2-3, eight Uttar Pradesh cops, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police and three Sub-Inspectors, were killed during a raid to arrest Dubey in Bikru village, near Kanpur city. According to police, a team of about 20 policemen had gone to the village, in Chaubeypur police station area, to arrest the gangster, a history-sheeter who faced about 60 criminal cases including murder and attempt to murder. Police said the team came under heavy fire, including from rooftops. At least seven other security personnel were injured in the attack. A homeguard is reported to be critical.
Also Read | Of the eight policemen killed in Kanpur, two joined police force recently, one was set to retire
Later in the day, police said two men, identified as Prem Prakash Pandey and his associate Atul Dubey, were killed during a combing operation. They said a service pistol and a country-made pistol were recovered from their possession. A senior police officer said the attackers had snatched an AK-47, an INSAS rifle and two pistols from the police team.
On July 4, Dubey’s house in Bikru village was demolished. The 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.
All 68 cops at Chaubeypur station were removed as Uttar Pradesh Police ordered an inquiry into a reported letter written by Deputy SP Devendra Kumar Mishra to DIG (STF), Anant Deo, who was then Kanpur SSP, alleging links between Dubey and a local police station head. Deputy SP Mishra was among the eight police personnel killed in the July 3 shootout.
The letter doing the rounds, bearing DySP Mishra’s signature and addressed to Deo, talked about “closed relations” between Station Officer of the local Chaubeypur Police Station, Vinay Tiwari, and Dubey. The letter also warned that this might result in a serious incident.
Subsequently, Tiwari and Sub-Inspector Krishna Kumar Sharma were arrested on charges of conspiracy. The Kanpur police said there was evidence to suggest the two tipped off Dubey about the raid that helped him escape even as his men held off the police team.
‘Encounters’ of Dubey’s aides
So far, five of Dubey’s men have been killed in encounters since July 3. All were among the 21 named in the FIR. Two of Dubey’s associates—Kartikey alias Prabhat Mishra (20) and Ranveer alias Bauwa Dubey (37)—were gunned down in separate encounters in Kanpur and Etawah on Thursday.
Police said Kartikey was being brought to Kanpur on transit remand when he snatched the pistol of a Sub-Inspector and tried to flee. The second encounter, in Etawah, where Ranveer was killed, followed a call to the police control room that four men had stolen a vehicle at gunpoint, in Mahewa village, under Bakewar police station area.
Aside from this, Dubey’s maternal uncle Prem Prakash Pandey and his associate Atul Dubey were gunned down, hours after the failed raid on July 3. Amar Dubey, Vikas Dubey’s close associate and bodyguard, was killed in Hamirpur district, near Kanpur, early on Wednesday.
Twelve people, including five women, have been arrested so far.
The arrest and the killing of gangster Dubey have raised questions from Opposition leaders, who have demanded a probe into the matter. The Congress demanded a judicial probe monitored by a sitting Supreme Court judge into the entire episode. On Thursday, the party had demanded a CBI probe into the botched Kanpur raid, saying the chain of events in the case exposed the chinks in security and hinted at collusion.
“The UP government has failed to act swiftly in Kanpur incident. Despite the alert, accused (Vikas Dubey) reached Ujjain, which not only exposes the claims of security but also indicates towards collusion,” Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati also demanded a SC-monitored probe into the incident. She also wanted the inquiry to cover the killing of eight policemen in the ambush allegedly masterminded by Dubey.
Dubey’s rather tame arrest at the famous temple, his clean clothes and shaved face, and his seemingly relaxed demeanour seen in several video clips also triggered allegations from the Opposition that he may have in fact, ‘staged’ a surrender in connivance with the ruling BJP.
Former Union minister and Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav said the police’s claim of killing Dubey seems to be “fake”. Yadav alleged that Dubey was killed as he could have disclosed many big “secrets”.
“This encounter (killing) of Vikas Dubey seems to be fake and straight out of a film. This is an illegal way. This man could have disclosed many big secrets like who sheltered him… Those who sheltered him are as much to blame as Vikas Dubey and the country needed to know them,” he said.
Ruling out the need for a CBI probe into the killing of Vikas Dubey, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said the “law has taken its own course.” Meanwhile, former union minister and BJP leader Uma Bharati congratulated the UP police for gunning down Dubey, but questioned his arrest from Ujjain.
Back in 2001, Dubey allegedly chased a BJP leader who then had minister of state rank in UP, Santosh Shukla, inside Shivli police station in Kanpur Dehat, and shot him dead in broad daylight. Four years later, he was acquitted. In 1999, Dubey had allegedly killed one Jhunna Baba in his village and grabbed his land and other properties. In 2000, he was accused in the murder of his teacher and retired principal of the local Tara Chand Inter College, and jailed for some time.
In an interview given in 2006, Dubey said he had been pradhan of Bikru village for 10 years, after which he became a member of the zilla panchayat, while his younger brother was elected unopposed to the post of gram pradhan of the neighbouring Bheeti village. His brother’s wife was then a zila panchayat member, and his brother became the pradhan of Bikru village.
There were 62 criminal cases against Dubey in UP, including five cases of murder and eight cases of attempt to murder. Police had invoked tough laws such as the UP Gangsters’ Act, Goonda Act, and the National Security Act against him.
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