Vikas Dubey encounter: Panel clears UP police but seeks probe into official collusion

Over a year after gangster Vikas Dubey and five others were killed in a series of alleged encounters with the Uttar Pradesh Police, a three-member judicial commission, formed on the direction of the Supreme Court, tabled its report in the state Assembly on Thursday, clearing the police action.

The commission — headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice B S Chauhan, and with retired Allahabad HC judge Justice Shashi Kant Agarwal and former UP Director General of Police K L Gupta as its other members — also concluded that there was enough evidence that Dubey and his gang were patronised by local police, revenue and administrative officials, and recommended an inquiry against the “erring public servants”.

On July 3 last year, a police team that had gone to Bikru village in Kanpur to arrest Dubey had come under heavy gunfire from rooftops near the gangster’s home. Eight policemen, including Deputy Superintendent of Police Devendra Mishra, died in the ambush.

Of the 21 people named in the FIR, police gunned down six accused, including Dubey, in alleged encounters over the following weeks. On July 10, Dubey was killed when a police vehicle ferrying him from Ujjain, from where he was arrested, to Kanpur met with an accident. Police alleged that he tried to escape and opened fire, and that he was killed in retaliatory fire.

On the alleged collusion between Dubey and officials, the commission report says, “Police and revenue officers patronised him and his gang. If any person lodged any complaint against Vikas Dubey or his associates, the complainant was always humiliated by the police. Even if the higher authorities directed to lodge the complaint, the local police dictated the terms,” the report said, pointing to Dubey’s wife’s election as Zila Panchayat member and his brother’s wife’s election as pradhan of the village as evidence of Dubey’s clout in the local administration.

“Investigation in any case lodged against them was never impartial. Sections relating to serious offences were dropped before filing the chargesheet. During the trial, most witnesses turn hostile. Vikas Dubey and his associates got bail orders from the courts easily and quickly as there was no serious opposition by the state authorities and government advocates. State authorities never considered it appropriate to engage a special counsel for his prosecution. The state never moved any application for cancellation of bail or approached the superior court for cancellation of any of the bail orders,” the report said.

On the July 3 police ambush that ended up in the death of eight policemen, the report said some of the police personnel posted in Chaubeypur police station, which has jurisdiction over Dubey’s Bikru village, had tipped off the gangster about the impending police raid. “There was a total failure of the intelligence unit in Kanpur in collecting information about the criminal activities [of Dubey] and possession of sophisticated weapons. No proper caution was taken in preparation for the raid, and none of the policemen were wearing bulletproof jackets. Only 18 of them had arms, the rest had gone empty-handed or with sticks,” the commission’s report said.

Recommending action against those whose allegedly colluded with Dubey, the report says, “The Commission recommends initiation of disciplinary proceedings against the erring public servants for loss of records, particularly the record of cases relating to Vikas Dubey, after holding a regular inquiry, and pass necessary orders against those found guilty.”

Giving a clean chit to the first encounter that took place just seven hours after the Bikru ambush and which resulted in the killing of two of the accused, Dubey’s maternal uncle Prem Prakash and his aide Atul Dubey, the report said the injuries sustained by police personnel did not appear to be self-inflicted and that most of the firearm injuries on the accused “were on the non-vital parts of their bodies”.

The commission gave similar clean chits to the encounters that later killed Amar Dubey, Pravin Kumar Dubey and Prabhat Mishra.

On the alleged encounter that killed Dubey on July 10, the report said that the police team were on their way back from Ujjain when a herd of cows and buffaloes started crossing the road, causing the vehicle to skid and turn over. The commission’s report said that the accident caused “momentary unconsciousness” to some of the police personnel sitting in the vehicle, following which the accused, taking advantage of the situation, allegedly snatched the revolver of a policeman and started running to his left along a kutchha road.

According to the commission’s report, Dubey shot from the policeman’s pistol even as the police chased him, injuring two of the men in uniform. The report adds that police fired at the accused in self-defence, leading to Dubey collpasing. He was rushed to the district hospital, where he was declared brought dead, the commission said, adding the injuries suffered by the policemen could not have been self-inflicted or fabricated.

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