Photo: ANI
Photo: ANI

Gangster Vikas Dubey was killed in an encounter with the Uttar Pradesh police on Friday morning after attempting to flee. He had made headlines on July 3 after an attempt to nab him went awry in Kanpur, leading to the death of eight police officials. Having allegedly been tipped off by some police officials, Dubey had ambushed them, before fleeing. He was finally arrested on Thursday from Ujjain.

Early on Friday, while being transported from Ujjain to Kanpur, Dubey was shot dead. As per the police, the vehicle he was in overturned on the outskirts of the city. The SUV met with an accident at Bhaunti in Kanpur district, toppling on an isolated stretch of the road which was slippery after the rains, police claimed. The car was part of a small convoy of police vehicles.

Officials said that the gangster snatched a pistol from one of the policemen injured in the accident and was shot when he opened fire while trying to flee. As per the official account, six policemen, including two from the Special task Force, were hurt in the accident and the exchange of fire around 6 am. A press release had said he was immediately taken to a hospital, where he died during treatment.

Many have however questioned the official sequence of events. While the Congress has demanded a judicial probe monitored by sitting Supreme Court judge, opposition parties both in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere have questioned the encounter.

Amid the speculation and the allegations, there has emerged several pertinent questions and facts that have not sat well with many. For one thing, as per doctors at the Lal Lajpat Rai hospital where Dubey was brought after being shot, he had taken three bullets to the chest and one to his arm. As news agency IANS noted, this in turn makes it clear that Dubey was not shot from the back as would be conventional if he was running away from the cops.

Reports suggest that Dubey, as per police accounts had tried to run into the agricultural fields adjacent to where the car overturned.

There have also been reports that claim Dubey's car had been changed in the time before his death. Reportedly, he had been travelling in a safari car. However, the upturned vehicle -- whose photo was posted later -- is a Mahindra SUV. As per an NDTV report, a toll plaza video from around 4 am had shown him in the initial car.

In another strange turn of events, news agency ANI posted a tweet stating that media personnel who had been following the convoy that was bringing back the gangster had been stopped by the police in Sachendi area of Kanpur before the encounter around 6.30 am.

But even the use of a fleet of cars is a tad confusing, as initial reports had suggested that the STF would bring Dubey back by a chartered plane.

Many have also wondered how it was possible for Dubey to snatch a weapon. A dangerous criminal with a lengthy charge-sheet, some have questioned why (and whether) Dubey was handcuffed during his travel in the car. Another point to note is why and how were the police weapons accesible to Dubey, and whether or not they official's weapons had been secured in the first place.

In recent days, several of Dubey's associates have passed away in encounters. Of these, one had been shot dead while in transit after snatching a pistol from a police officer and attempting to flee. Kartikeya alias Prabhat was killed while he was being brought to Kanpur on transit remand.

Two of his associates, Prem Prakash Pandey and Atul Dubey, were killed by the police in an encounter in Kanpur on July 3, and less than a week later, the police killed another aide, Amar Dubey in an encounter in Maudaha village in Hamirpur district. On July 9, two more aides of gangster Vikas Dubey, wanted in connection with the Kanpur ambush, were killed in separate encounters in Kanpura and Etawah districts.

As per a TimesNow report, a Madhya Pradesh cop had also expressed hope that Dubey would not make it to Kanpur. The publication accessed a video where an MP cop can be heard asked when Dubey will reach Kanpur. "I hope he doesn’t reach," the cop laughingly responds.

The skeptics include former Kerala DGP NC Asthana who had reportedly wondered who would believe the story.

"Vikas Dubey killed? Really? The same stupid story, which they had for his aide Mishra. Tried to snatch weapon and run away! Only difference in script this time--the car overturned! Who in the world would believe in such an improbable story? That confirms--COVER UP COMPLETE NOW!" she had tweeted.

(With inputs from agencies)

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