Don-turned-politician Vikas Dubey, who is the mastermind behind the murder of eight police officers in Kanpur, was arrested today in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain while visiting the town's famous Mahakal temple.
In a strange twist of irony, Dubey the temple, reportedly to atone for his sins. According to sources present at the temple, Dubey purchased a temple ticket for Rs 250 to enter the complex.
A number of people on social media have said that it appeared that Dubey wanted to be arrested, as he began yelling that he was Vikas Dubey, promoting the temple guards to alert the Ujjain police. A team arrived soon after and Dubey surrendered himself without putting up a fight.
However, a priest at the temple, as well as a security guard have two different stories about Dubey's arrest. While the security guard says he tried coming from the back gate and was recognised before getting a darshan, following which the police was alerted, the priest says that he visited the temple's sanctum sanctorum and got the darshan.
Notably, the temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. People say that the linga 'is swyambu in nature' i.e. created on its own accord. People have also said that the visiting the temple is considered auspicious as it helps the visitor come out of a difficult situation.
Dubey's arrest comes on the same day two of his aides were allegedly killed in an encounter. According to the Uttar Pradesh police, one of the encounters involved one of Dubey's aides Prabhat Mishra. According to the Assistant Director General of the Kanpur police, Mishra was being brought to Kanpur in a police van when the vehicle broke down. He tried escaping by snatching a cop's weapon and was killed in the process.
This statement has not gone down well with many, who say that criminals being brought are always handcuffed. Dr NC Asthana, a retired police officer, slammed the Uttar Pradesh police administration and said, "Pathetic story! The whole system, from top to bottom, is intellectually so bankrupt that they cannot tell even a lie convincingly. By the way, orders are that cops must secure their weapons by lanyards to prevent snatching. Moreover, dangerous criminals should have bn handcuffed. (sic)"
On the same day, the Uttar Pradesh police were involved in another encounter at Etawah that saw them shoot down Dubey's partner Ranbir Shukla
According to senior police officer, Akash Tomar, a Swift Dzire was looted by four armed men, which included Shukla, waiting in a Mahindra Scorpio. Police intercepted the Scorpio while the accused was trying to escape.
The two sides exchanged fire and Shukla was killed. The three others, however, managed to escape, Tomar said.
How it all started
On July 3, 2020, at least eight police officers were killed in an encounter Dubey and his henchmen.
Acting on a tip-off from two police officers, who were subsequently arrested, Dubey and his men waited as the police officials came to arrest them, without the slightest knowledge that they were walking into a death trap.
As the police team was about to reach the hideout of the dreaded criminal, a hail of bullets was showered on them from a building rooftop, leaving Deputy SP Devendra Mishra, three sub-inspectors and four constables dead, officials said. Giving details of the incident, Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police H C Awasthi said the notorious criminal might have got an inkling of the impending raid.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that Dubey was tipped off by members of the police force. "As per evidence, it has been found that police personnel Vinay Tiwari and KK Sharma had informed Vikas Dubey about the raid beforehand. So, he was on alert and planned to attack police which resulted in the death of 8 policemen," SSP Kanpur Dinesh Prabhu told ANI.
The two have now been arrested. Tiwari had been the former Station Officer of Chaubepur Police Station that has jurisdiction over the gangster's village. Reportedly, he had watered down charges against Dubey in previous cases.
IG of Kanpur Range, Mohit Agarwal said that Tiwari and Beat Incharge KK Sharma had been present during the encounter, but had fled the site of the incident during the operation.
Following the ambush, Dubey used different modes of transport to escape Kanpur. According to a Hindustan Times report, he used several motorcycles, an SUV, sand-laden trucks, and taxis to escape from his Kanpur home to Bikru village in Faridabad, where he was hiding until he was spotted in a hotel through its CCTV footage on Wednesday.
Police told the Indian daily that the idea behind using several modes of transport was to use interior roads where chances of facing police arrest was less than if they only used an SUV to take the main road. All the vehicles were abandoned by Dubey and his associates, and later recovered by cops.
'Wanting to be arrested'
Reports started doing the rounds that Dubey had planned to surrender himself at a news station in Noida. The same Hindustan Times report added that Dubey boarded a tempo after he left the Faridabad hotel, but it was unclear where he was headed. There is also still no information whether he changed vehicles while travelling from Faridabad to Ujjain
Dubey has 60 criminal cases including killing a minister inside a police station in 2001 slapped against him. Yet, he escaped the law for so many years allegedly due to his political connections.
While his surrender and subsequent arrest looks too easy, the cops and the Uttar Pradesh government for the time being will be breathing a sigh of relief over the fact that they have got their man.
With inputs from Free Press Ujjain Bureau and Kanchan Srivastava