Vikas Dubey, the history-sheeter accused of killing eight policemen in Bikru village last week, was gunned down early on Friday while allegedly trying to flee from custody after an accident as he was being taken from Ujjain to Kanpur, the Uttar Pradesh police said.
The police team shot Dubey multiple times after he fired at them with a pistol he managed to snatch from a police officer, who was injured in the accident, the U.P. Special Task Force (STF) said in a statement.
Vehicle turns turtle
The STF said the vehicle carrying Dubey lost control and overturned when the driver, who was tired after a long journey, turned sharply to avoid a herd of cattle that suddenly ran onto the road. The accident happened near a hospital in the Sachendi area on the national highway a few kilometres ahead of Kanpur around 6.45 a.m. Dubey was being escorted to Kanpur to be produced in a court, police said.
Dubey is the sixth person to be eliminated by the Uttar Pradesh police following the killing of eight policemen by the gangster and his associates on the night of July 2-3 at Bikru village.
The police operation came under question after several journalists, who were trailing the convoy from Ujjain, said their cars were suddenly stopped a few kilometres ahead of the spot where Dubey was shot. Several social media users also asked the U.P. police to explain why Dubey, who was earlier seen in a TATA SUV while crossing a toll plaza, happened to be in another vehicle that met with the “accident”.
A journalist, who was trailing the convoy from near Jalaun, said several journalists were stopped at the tollbooth there without proper explanation. “I then asked my friends, who were further ahead, to keep track. However, even they were stopped for security checks,” said the journalist on condition of anonymity.
Another mediaperson said several private vehicles, including those of journalists, were blocked at the Barra toll plaza some 10-11 km away. The mediaperson also said that along the way the police constantly shifted Dubey from one car to another and even changed the formation of the moving vehicles.
An unidentified policeman at the spot later told angry reporters that the checking on the route was routine and the barrier was permanent, even as some reporters maintained that there was no such barricade previously.
According to the police, Dubey took advantage of the accident and tried to flee towards a kutcha road after snatching a pistol from an injured policeman.
“The police surrounded him from all four sides and tried to make him surrender, but he fired at the police. In self-defence, police fired two bullets [at Dubey], injuring him,” said Kanpur SP (West) Anil Kumar.
Dubey had fired at the police team with the “intent to kill”, said the police, while the STF added that they made all attempts to “catch him alive” and even reached quite close to him.
Three bullet wounds
Dubey was brought dead to the hospital, said Principal of Kanpur Medical College R.B Kamal. While an autopsy report is awaited, Dubey had three bullet wounds on his chest and one on his shoulder, said Dr. Kamal.
When Dubey was being taken inside the hospital building on a stretcher, probably dead by then, he had a mask on his face.
The two STF jawans were shot in the hand and leg, said Dr. Kamal, adding that the bullets brushed their body parts. Four other policemen were injured in the car accident, said police. All are out of danger, doctors said.
Without making a direct reference, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav questioned the police narrative. “The car hasn’t overturned but the government has been saved from being overturned because of secrets,” he tweeted.
Dubey, who faces 60 criminal cases , carried a reward of ₹5 lakh at the time of his death. He had been on the run since the intervening night of July 2 and 3.