Uttar Pradesh's dreaded gangster Vikas Dubey, who has been on the run for over a week, ever since the ambush and killing of eight police personnel in Kanpur, on Thursday morning, allegedly surrendered over a thousand kilometres away on the Mahakaleshwar temple premises at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
He was 'spotted' at a hotel in Faridabad in Haryana on Tuesday night but allegedly slipped away and reached Ujjain in a car which reportedly belongs to an advocate based in Lucknow.
“We have arrested him and questioned him for eight hours...No case has been registered against Dubey in Ujjain….He was handed over to the UP police as he had committed a major crime,” Manoj Kumar Singh, SP Ujjain, said in a late night presser.
Denying claims that Dubey had surrendered, Ujjain SP insisted, “A flower seller, Rajesh Mali, who had been following TV reports, identified Dubey when he entered the temple premises around 8 am. He informed the security guards about it. Dubey had darshan by paying Rs250 for a VIP ticket. When he came out, security guards questioned him and informed the police outpost at the temple.”
Ujjain collector Asheesh Singh and even Home minister Narottam Agrawal made similar claims earlier in the day. Agrawal had said that Dubey had come to MP via Kota, Rajasthan.
“At the temple, the guards questioned him. He first tried to mislead them by producing a fake ID card of a much younger man named Subham. He apparently had checked into a hotel earlier with the same ID. When prodded further, he hit out at the guards, who dragged him to the police station outside the temple premises. He eventually admitted that he was Dubey,” DM Ashish Singh told FPJ.
Security guards claimed that Dubey was asked to remove the mask. ''As soon as he removed it, we recognised him and called the police,'' they claimed.
Even as the cops grabbed his collar, he kept shouting “Main Vikas Dubey hoon Kanpur wala (I am Vikas Dubey of Kanpur).” In another purported video, which surfaced in social media, Dubey was seen strolling down to the Ujjain temple exit along with the security guards and the police team without any sign of protest or force. Observers speculate that the entire episode looked like a staged surrender.
In another version, a temple official, Gopal Kushwah, said Vikas arrived at 7 am and after darshan he was questioned by the suspicious temple staff. The staff and security guards then called police from a nearby outpost, following which Vikas was questioned again.
While there are several question marks in the scripts provided by the MP and the UP police, a few developments have further cast shadow over the “arrest theory.”
Sources claimed that two top officials of the Shivraj Chauhan government had visited the temple on Wednesday night, and it was not for religious reasons.
“Even two cops posted at the temple were abruptly replaced around the same time which suggests the kind of links the man has -- from UP to MP,” an official said.
MP Congress leader Jitu Patwari levelled charges that Dubey and Home Minister Narottam Mishra had some links as Mishra had been the BJP’s election in-charge of Kanpur. Mishra has refuted Patwari's claims, though.
Dubey had fled after the massacre and a massive hunt was launched; the bounty on him was also raised to Rs 5 lakh.
Over 40 teams of Uttar Pradesh police were searching for him in Delhi-Noida near news channel offices, as it was rumoured that he would surrender live in TV studios.
Meanwhile, the UP police have arrested Dubey’s wife Richa and son from Lucknow. UP cops had gunned down three of his aides on Thursday. Two associates were killed earlier.
The history sheeter has allegedly confessed to the murder of the eight police personnel before Ujjain police.
Dubey allegedly told them that he intended to burn the bodies of the cops. However, after collecting the bodies, he did not get a chance to go ahead with the plan and escaped from the spot, sources said.
The bodies of the cops were stacked near a well. “The DSP was killed and his leg was chopped off as I learnt he used to call me 'langda'. Another cop, whose skull was ripped open, was shot from close range,” he allegedly told MP police.
Dubey claimed that the information about the raid was given to him by police sources and they were in contact with him. He added that he knew about it for quite some time and so had asked his men to come to the spot with weapons as there was 'some danger'. He also said that he was afraid that the police were going to kill him in an encounter.
Legal experts say that a confession before the police had no legal validity. It should have been done before the magistrate.