In a mysterious and dramatic turn of events, Kanpur’s infamous don Vikas Dubey, who was absconding since the massacre of eight cops and was “arrested” on Thursday in Ujjain from Mahakal Temple, was killed on Friday morning in an ‘encounter.’
The special task force of the Uttar Pradesh police, which took custody of Dubey from the Ujjain police, was returning to Kanpur in three vehicles. The car carrying the gangster allegedly skidded and overturned when a herd of cattle came in the way, the STF has claimed.
“Just a few km away from Kanpur, a herd of cows came in front of the vehicle. The vehicle overturned and amid the ensuing chaos, Vikas snatched a gun from a cop and started fleeing. We chased and asked him to surrender but he opened fire on us. We, too, opened fire in self-defence which left him injured. He was taken to Kanpur hospital where he died,” the STF claimed in a statement.
Like his mysterious disappearance from the crime scene in Kanpur village and “arrest” from Ujjain, the ‘encounter’ theory also raises more questions than it provides answers.
Many have doubted the STF version and claimed there were many holes in it. Local eyewitnesses claimed that there had been no accident at the spot during the hours in question. “We heard the sound of gun fire. But there was no accident, for sure. When we decided to inquire, the cops asked us to leave,” a local resident told media persons.
Even a media house claimed: “Our team was following the convoy from Ujjain and our car was stopped just 15 minutes before the encounter.”
Besides, in a video purportedly taken minutes before the encounter, Dubey was seen in a Tata Safari car; however, the vehicle which had turned turtle on a fairly good road was a Mahindra SUV, for which twitter users took a dig at car-maker industrialist Anand Mahindra.
A post-mortem was conducted and Dubey was cremated in the evening in Kanpur in presence of heavy police ‘bandobast’.
While the post mortem report was not immediately available, sources four bullets were retrieved, three from his chest, which is quite unusual for an encounter. Six of Dubey’s associates were also gunned down by the police over the past one week.
Many people hailed the UP police. Dubey’s encounter was ‘celebrated” by locals and policemen by distributing sweets in Kanpur. “It is good that Dubey has been killed; otherwise our judiciary would have taken decades to punish him. We have seen how big criminals are still ruling the roost from behind bars,” a local resident said.
Dubey’s death has saved many netas
From the brutal encounter of eight policemen to his disappearance from the crime scene and then crossing over four states with impunity and appearing in an Ujjain temple despite sealed borders of the State, reveals Dubey’s clout in the police and his political connections. "After his death, his political bosses can breathe easy as their secrets will not be revealed," Congress leader Akhilesh Singh said.
“The car did not topple. Instead, the government was saved from toppling by the revelations,” tweeted Akhilesh Yadav, former UP chief minister and Samajwadi Party chief.
Mayawati, BSP chief and former UP CM, demanded a SC-monitored probe into the alleged encounter. Priyanka Gandhi too demanded and apex court probe. “Who all are involved in patronage of such criminals should be revealed,” she said.
“The fact is Dubey was close to every political outfit which was in power. Since he had connections with big political leaders and police officers, no one dared to touch him,” said a senior police officer.
Vikas Dubey’s photo with Law Minister Brajesh Pathak has become a talking point. Pathak has, of course, denied any links with Dubey. His snaps with BJP MP Ashok Rawat from Mishrikh (Sitapur) and BJP MP from Akbarpur, Devendra Bhole, and Samajwadi Party leader Satish Nigam are also doing the rounds.
Dubey’s aide and business manager Jai Bajpayi’s several photographs with BJP UP chief Swatantra Dev Singh, STF DIG Anant Deo Tiwari and UP’s Home and Information Secretary and the most powerful bureaucrat, Awanish Awasthi, have also surfaced.
Vikas started his career in early nineties by helping local politicians garner votes from the Brahmin community in his village. With passing years, his power spanned across many villages.
An official said, “Legislators rely heavily on local leaders like Dubey during election campaigns, especially on the voting day, when voters have to be bribed, ferried to the booths, or threatened to stay away if they support the other political outfits. While Dubey became infamous in one regime, his wife fought elections in another regime, under the then ruling party’s banner.”
It was an open secret that he had killed a minister inside a police station in 2001 in front of 20 cops but was acquitted as all witnesses turned hostile. He was charged with several murders, over 60 criminal cases, but never convicted. He was arrested in 2017 in a murder case and revealed the names of two BJP MLAs who helped him clean up the dirt.
The fact that Dubey got away for so long is a manifestation of the manner in which the political and administrative apparatus has worked in tandem. There are many “Vikas Dubeys” across UP who have big influence in political circles cutting across parties. “Many of them are elected to Zila Parishad, corporations and Assembly, too. It is a symbiotic association that has thrived for decades. Who will take action against goons, then?” points out a professor of Lucknow University.
As per the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), 143 of 403 legislators in UP have criminal cases against them.
His business ran into Rs 500 crore, ED to probe
Sources said that Dubey had invested close to Rs500 crore in several businesses in Kanpur, Lucknow and even abroad. He allegedly owned several bungalows and flats and huge tracts of land. Sources said that the Enforcement directorate will probe his illegal businesses.
Petition at SC and NHRC
A Mumbai-based lawyer had written to SC chief justice seeking a probe into the encounter. Congress sympathiser Tehseen Poonawala also submitted a petition to the National Human Rights commission.