LUCKNOW, India — The top suspect in the ambush killings of eight police officers last week and dozens of other crimes was fatally shot in police custody Friday while allegedly trying to flee, officials said.
Vikas Dubey snatched a revolver from officers after their vehicle overturned on a highway near the northern Indian city of Kanpur and tried to flee, said police officer Mohit Aggarwal. He said Dubey died in an exchange of gunfire.
Dubey, in his 40s, had given himself up in the central town of Ujjain on Thursday after a weeklong search. He was being driven in a police convoy to Kanpur where the eight police officers were killed.
He is believed to have links with state politicians and the police. Two police officers were arrested this week for allegedly tipping him off about a police raid on his home last Friday.
A villager said Dubey and his brother Deepu Dubey dealt in real estate. Another younger brother Avinash was killed some time back, the local resident claimed.
Vikas Dubey, who was on the run for nearly a week after the incident, was held in the neighbouring state of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday.
Police said they were transporting Dubey to Uttar Pradesh when the car he was travelling in overturned.
The inspector general of police, Mohit Agarwal, told India’s PTI news agency that policemen killed Dubey – described as a notorious gangster – in retaliation, after he refused to surrender and fired at officers.
But some have raised questions about the official account, in a state where police are often accused of using excessive force.
“Time has come when this court being ultimate custodian of law and Constitution, under which the country needs to be ruled/governed, needs to take serious view of the matter or else, a time will come when there will be only police raj in this country, which cannot be countenanced,” it said.
It claimed that emergence of people like Dubey is a glaring example of “corruption in police department and law enforcing machineries”.
Referring to media report, it alleged that Dubey had blessing of politicians of various political parties and had deep connection with police department.
While on July 3, two of his alleged associates, Prem Prakash Pandey and Atul Dubey, were killed by police in an encounter in Kanpur, on July 8 the police killed, Amar Dubey, who carried a reward of Rs 50,000, in Maudaha village in Hamirpur district.
On July 9, two more alleged aides—Kartikeya alias Prabhat and Praveen alias Bauwa Dubey—were killed in separate encounters in Kanpur and Etawah districts.