Bhopal/Lucknow, July 9
Alleged gangster Vikas Dubey was arrested outside a temple in the pilgrimage city of Ujjain on Thursday after purchasing prasad and an entry ticket to the shrine, ending a six-day manhunt for the man accused of masterminding a deadly ambush on a police party outside his home in Kanpur.
Also read: Vikas Dubey flees Faridabad hotel; aide shot
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said two of Dubey’s associates were also arrested.
“We have arrested Dubey and he is in our custody,” Mishra said. “Dubey arrived at the (Mahakal) temple in his car. A police constable identified him first, after which three others (security personnel) were alerted and he was taken aside for questioning and later arrested,” Mishra said.
However, temple sources gave a slightly different account. They said Dubey reached the temple gate in the morning and purchased a Rs 250 ticket from a counter near the police post. When he went to a nearby shop to buy prasad for the deity, the shop owner identified him and alerted police, they added.
It is not clear if he was arrested immediately, before he could enter the temple, or later when he came out of the temple after performing darshan, as some media reports said.
When the cops asked him his name, he loudly said “Vikas Dubey”, following which they and private security personnel deployed at the temple nabbed him, the sources said.
Asked who had identified the gangster first, Mishra said: “We will share details after going deep into the matter.
“It is a matter of intelligence and we can’t reveal it now.”
“It is a big achievement for the Madhya Pradesh police. They were on high alert after the Kanpur incident,” Mishra told reporters.
Carrying a reward of Rs 5 lakh for information leading to his arrest, Dubey had been on the run since last Friday night when a police party, which had gone to arrest him from his house in Bikru village in the Chaubeypur area of Kanpur, was ambushed. The group was caught in a hail of gunfire from rooftops, which left eight policemen, including a deputy superintendent, dead.
Police say he has been a prime accused in some 60 criminal cases in his lifetime, including murders. He was accused of killing a BJP MLA in a police station 20 years ago but was acquitted for lack of evidence.
Lauding Ujjain police for arresting Dubey, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted, “Those who feel that after going to the Mahakal temple, their sins will be wiped out, they do not know about the Mahakal. Our government will not spare any criminals.”
Chouhan said he spoke to his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath after the arrest. The MP police will hand over Dubey to Uttar Pradesh police, he added.
Two more aides gunned down in separate encounters in Uttar Pradesh
Meanwhile, two more aides of Dubey were gunned down in separate encounters in Uttar Pradesh, police said.
Kartikeya, who was arrested from Faridabad on Wednesday, was being brought to Kanpur on transit remand when he snatched the pistol of a policeman and tried to flee, ADG, Law and Order Prashant Kumar said.
“The encounter took place in the Panki area of Kanpur when the police vehicle had a flat tyre. Taking advantage of the situation, Kartikeya tried to flee after snatching the pistol of a policeman,” he said.
Kartikeya fired at the policemen accompanying him, injuring two Special Task Force (STF) personnel, and was killed in the ensuing exchange of fire, the officer said.
The other aide, Praveen alias Bauwa Dubey, also wanted in connection with the Kanpur ambush, was killed in an encounter in Etawah, the police said.
“The police team surrounded a person at about 4.30 am and he was killed in an exchange of fire. The deceased was identified as Praveen alias Bauwa Dubey. He was carrying a reward of Rs 50,000 for information leading to his arrest,” Etawah SP Akash Tomar said.
Five persons have been killed in police encounters since the Kanpur ambush.
Amar Dubey was killed in Uttar Pradeshs Hamirpur on Wednesday, while Prem Prakash Pandey and Atul Dubey were gunned down in an encounter in Kanpur on July 3.
While BJP MLAs and a Samajwadi Party spokesperson denied any connection with the gangster, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra demanded a CBI probe to ascertain the facts about the “grant of protection” to Vikas Dubey and targeted the state government over the episode.
“The Uttar Pradesh government has completely failed in acting with alacrity in the ghastly Kanpur massacre.
Despite an alert, the gangster reaching Ujjain exposes the chinks in security and points to collusion,” she said in a tweet in Hindi.
A police team from Kanpur, which had reached Ujjain, left for Uttar Pradesh by road on Thursday evening after Vikas Dubey was handed over to it, an official said.
Right now Vikas Dubey is in Samajwadi Party, says mother
Sarla Devi, Vikas Dubey’s mother, said her son is with the Samajwadi Party, a claim denied by the party.
Asked what should be done by the government after her son’s arrest, she said it should do whatever it feels is appropriate (sarkar jo uchit samjhe, woh kare).
In a 2017 viral video on social media, the gangster is heard claiming that two BJP MLAs helped him in the past.
“At this time, he is not in the BJP, he is with the Samajwadi Party, Sarla Devi told reporters. A Samajwadi Party spokesperson said Dubey is not a member of the party.
A relative of DSP Devendra Mishra, among the eight policemen killed in the Kanpur ambush, questioned the arrest of Vikas Dubey, claiming it was a “well-planned surrender” and the gangster was “saved from death”.
“This is not an arrest but he has been saved from death. It was a surrender made in a well-planned manner,” he told reporters.
Senior IPS officer Amitabh Thakur tweeted, “We couldn’t arrest Vikas Dubey and he surrendered in Ujjain. We couldn’t arrest him even in such a case and he managed to travel to a distant place. I think this aspect needs to be enquired into.”
Congress leaders demand high-level probe
Alleging that Vikas Dubey’s “safe exit” from Kanpur and the sequence of events leading to his arrest in Ujjain seemed suspicious, senior Congress leaders demanded a high-level probe into it.
One of the Congress leaders said that the gangster’s links with politicians and policemen should also be probed.
Taking to Twitter, former MP chief minister Kamal Nath said the gangster’s “safe departure” from Kanpur, arrival at Ujjain and the manner of arrest gave birth to a lot of suspicion.
“Such a big criminal whom the police are searching for day and night, his safe exit from Kanpur and arrival in Ujjain and later entry into the temple and the way he shouted to get himself arrested gives birth to a lot of suspicion. It hints at some protection and it should be probed,” Nath tweeted.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh demanded that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan order a judicial probe into Dubey’s arrest.
Terming Vikas Dubey’s arrest as a show, Singh tweeted, “It appears to be a sponsored surrender for saving himself from an encounter with the Uttar Pradesh police. As per my information, it is done with the courtesy of a senior BJP leader of Madhya Pradesh.”
The Uttar Pradesh Congress called Dubey’s arrest “scripted and dubious” and demanded a CBI probe into it.
“The arrest of Dubey from the premises of Mahakal Temple in Ujjain is scripted and dubious and CBI should probe it, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajay Kumar Lallu said. PTI
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