Series of rumours sent Noida police on a wild goose chase
According to police officials who asked not to be named, first reports that Dubey was in NCR came on Tuesday night.Updated: Jul 10, 2020 00:29 IST
Police in Noida sealed access to Film City and stepped up checking at borders with Delhi on Wednesday, seemingly responding to what now is known to have been rumours instead of credible intelligence, as gangster Vikas Dubey was on his way to Ujjain through Rajasthan at the time.
The action in Noida came following reports that Dubey, who was spotted in Faridabad the day before, was planning to surrender at the studio of a TV news channel in order to avoid the risk of being killed by police in a possible staged encounter. What followed was a widespread checking of commuters, including points where cops asked people to take off their masks so that facial recognition could be used.
“In such situation, we do not have time to verify the credibility of the news because a number of times their information has been proven correct. It is expected that police must be on action mode and that’s why, we went on the highest alert,” said Gautam Budh Nagar commissioner of police (CP) Alok Singh.
According to police officials who asked not to be named, first reports that Dubey was in NCR came on Tuesday night. But it was on Wednesday morning that a rumour changed the course of police action: “Dubey is trying to intrude in GB Nagar, giving slip to the authorities and he is all set to surrender in the district and session’s court in Surajpur,” said a message being spread on WhatsApp.
This led the police to begin checking people on motorcycles and even bicycles, particularly those moving towards the Surajpur court in Greater Noida.
“There was heightened police presence at the court also. Senior police officials also visited the premises along with lawyers from the Delhi high court. Even the lawyers were checked under their masks while entering the court. There were rumours that Dubey might surrender and everyone was on vigil,” said senior advocate Ramsharan Nagar, former president of the Bar association.
By 2pm, another rumour surfaced: “Dubey had been spotted in Jewar area and the police have made an error.” This prompted preparations to be increased.
“My car could cross DND in some 75 minutes. But, we were patient anticipating that Noida police will nab the dreaded gangster today,” said Sudhir Kumar, a lawyer practicing in Delhi. Checking was also intensified on the eastern peripheral expressway in light of the rumours.
The rumour about the surrender at a TV studio came around 4pm, which triggered a sealing of the area, and the final unconfirmed message came at 11pm, suggesting Dubey had been killed in a field near Greater Noida.
When asked about Wednesday’s rumours, the CP said the police are not supposed to immediately deny any hearsay. “Since even a minor lapse can cause a serious damage, we were not taking any chances. Now, our boys have started finding out the exact sources of those rumours. We’ll certainly take legal action against the rumour mongers,” he said.
The rumours stopped only after news came in on Thursday morning -- Dubey nabbed by Ujjain police.