‘Crash, escape, encounter’: Dubey saga ends in UP field
The manner of the accident, the attempt to flee, and the encounter, however, sparked accusations that the incident was staged, and politicians, former police officers and advocacy groups demanded a probe, contending that the police version of what happened did not add up.Updated: Jul 11, 2020 07:05 IST
The Uttar Pradesh police shot dead Vikas Dubey early on Friday during what they said was a botched escape attempt, capping a dramatic week-long saga that began with the killing of eight policemen in Kanpur, triggered a 5-day long manhunt through four states, and involved the killing of five accomplices of the gangster and the arrest of 20 others.
The manner of the accident, the attempt to flee, and the encounter, however, sparked accusations that the incident was staged, and politicians, former police officers and advocacy groups demanded a probe, contending that the police version of what happened did not add up.
Dubey was being driven from Ujjain, where he was taken into custody on Thursday, in an over 12-hour journey to his hometown in Kanpur, where he and his men killed eight of a police squad in the early hours of July 3.
Around 6:30am, as the convoy of three police SUVs reached the outskirts of Kanpur, police said that the vehicle -- a Mahindra TUV 300 -- Dubey was in lost control and crashed.
In the police’s retelling of the incident, Dubey managed to climb out of the vehicle, and run down a kachha country road leading to open fields; he was chased by policemen who were part of the convoy, surrounded, and asked to surrender. The gangster, however, fired multiple rounds at the police team instead of giving himself up, leading to the police shooting him down.
“After the car overturned, Vikas Dubey tried to snatch weapons from the police and he attempted to flee after which there was retaliatory fire by the police in which he was injured,” said Prashant Kumar, the additional director general of police, law and order, told reporters. “He was declared dead after being taken to hospital,” he added.
Three policemen, including SHO Nawabgunj Ramakant Pachauri were injured in the firing by the criminal, police said.
Dubey was shot dead nearly a kilometre from the accident site, according to the Uttar Pradesh police’s special task force. He was last spotted in videos taken at the Bara toll booth on the outskirts of Kanpur. He was in a Tata Safari at the time. Minutes before the accident that led to his killing, a group of mediapersons who were following the convoy were stopped at police check posts. Police later told reporters it was a “routine check”.
A former director general in the Kerala Police, NC Asthana, said he could point to glaring loopholes in the police’s story about the sequence of events.
“The car overturned but one cannot see any skid marks near the vehicle. The street was wet but there were no skid marks. It is impossible that Dubey was the first person to be able to come out of the car after it overturned. Were there police officers inside the car? Why did the police not handcuff him if he was a notorious gangster? Also, why would Dubey try to flee in a place where there were only open fields all around? And above all Dubey’s mask was intact despite the accident, running and the shootout.”
On the run since he engineered the massacre of eight policemen at his village Bikru on July 3, Dubey was first spotted in the National Capital Region on July 7 after his escape. On July 9, he was arrested from Mahakaal temple in Ujjain, where he is said to have been spotted by a street-side vendor, although some officials said he may have come forward on his own.
In a series of tweets, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati underlined the need for a high-level probe for justice. “A probe under the Supreme Court should be done into the killing of the policemen and then overturning of the car in which the UP [Uttar Pradesh] police were bringing the heinous criminal Vikas Dubey... and Dubey’s killing by the police,” she said.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress’s general secretary and Uttar Pradesh in-charge, raised questions about Dubey’s protectors. “Fine, the criminal [Dubey] is dead but what about those who protected him and his crime?” she tweeted.
Human rights lawyer and senior advocate Colin Gonsalves said as per the Code of Criminal Procedure section 176(1)(A), a judicial inquiry should be conducted to find out what led to Dubey’s death. “The law is clear. The inquiry must be held by a judicial magistrate and not an executive magistrate or special investigation team. Has a judicial magistrate been appointed to look into it? The facts point out towards an extra judicial killing.”
Dubey, aged about 50, was accused in more than 60 murders, attempted murders and other cases. He was said to have shot dead an Uttar Pradesh state minister inside a police station in 2001. Despite those cases and his reputation for ruthlessness, Dubey has built considerable links within the police and among politicians.
Between July 3 and July 9, five people linked to Dubey were killed in police encounters, and around 20 others -- including Dubey’s wife and family members of some of his other accomplices -- were arrested. Police also demolished Dubey’s bungalow in Kanpur, which was the scene of the crime on July 3.
The shoot-out was facilitated by tip-offs from a vast source of informants Dubey had cultivated within the police, a fact that was alluded to in a letter by deputy superintendent of police Devender Mishra, who was leading the police team that night and was murdered by Dubey and his men.
The day of the murder, UP police shunted out dozens of police officials and constables, and later put two of them under arrest for alerting Dubey.