Vikas Dubey, the main accused in the killing of eight policemen in Kanpur , holds a notorious record of criminal activities and proximity to politicians.
Dubey is named in 60 criminal cases in Kanpur, with several linked to murder, attempt to murder, robbery, and charges under the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, the police said.
He was acquitted in the murder of BJP leader Santosh Shukla, who was then a Minister of State, in 2001. According to the Special Task Force, Dubey’s animosity towards Shukla started during the political rivalry between Shukla and Hari Krishna Srivastava, who was then with the BSP, in the 1990s. They contested the Chaubeypur Assembly seat.
In 1996, after Srivastava defeated Shukla by over 6,000 votes, Dubey, the victor’s associate, participated in a victory parade in which supporters of both clashed.
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A case was filed against Dubey, which led to the animosity between him and Shukla. This culminated in Shukla’s murder on the Shivli police station premises on November 11, 2001, when Dubey fired indiscriminately, the Special Task Force said in a statement issued in 2017.
“That shows the nexus. It was so unbelievable that he was acquitted,” says Subhashini Ali, CPI(M) leader and former Kanpur MP.
“Since then, he has committed many more crimes and has also been a land-grabber. The point is, how is he at large,” she asked.
Ms. Ali says it must be investigated how Dubey intercepted the police team and ambushed it. She believes Dubey might have been given a tip-off by someone.
A BJP leader from Kanpur says Dubey was well known for his association with Hari Krishna Srivastava, who himself changed his political affiliation many times. “Dubey had links with the party that was in power,” the leader said.
Dubey himself was elected a pradhan and a zilla panchayat member.
In 2015, his wife Richa Dubey won in the zilla panchayat election from Dhimau. Monu Tomar, whose mother Shanti Devi stood third in the election, says Dubey holds enough clout in several villages to decide elections.
There were other crimes Dubey was linked to, including the murder of college manager Siddheshwar Pandey in 2000 and cable operator Dinesh Dubey in 2004. In 2000, from jail Dubey orchestrated the murder of Ram Babu Yadav in Shivli through his associates, the police said.
In October 2017, Dubey was arrested by the STF in Lucknow in a murder case, when the police found him allegedly applying pressure on the complainant and witnesses to submit statements in his favour. A .30-bore spring field rifle and 15 live cartridges were recovered from him then, the police said. Dubey then carried a reward of ₹25,000 on his head.
Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati said the government should not spare the accused, even if it needed to run a special campaign.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who visited Kanpur, said those involved in the killing would not be spared.