A nationwide manhunt to nab gangster Vikas Dubey concluded with a twist on Thursday morning when the man accused in over 60 criminal cases was spotted at the Mahakaleshwar temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district.
Vikas Dubey had been on the run since early hours of July 3 after he set up an ambush outside his home in Kanpur’s Bikru village where eight policemen lost their lives and another seven suffered severe injuries.
The UP Police’s official stance is that a police team went to raid Dubey’s home and place him under arrest in the later hours of July 2 when the history-sheeter’s aides opened indiscriminate fire at the cops. Vikas had been missing since and a reward of Rs 5 lakh was announced for any information that might lead to his arrest.
Several versions have since come to light. A number of reports suggest that it was a flower vendor stationed outside the temple who spotted Vikas Dubey and alerted the local police. Others say home guards deployed at the Mahakaleshwar temple along with the temple’s caretaker recognised him as the man keeping police in three states on tenterhooks for the better part of this past week.
It has also been reported that one of the security guards at the temple apprehended Vikas Dubey and asked him to show credentials. This is when the gangster produced a fake ID card with the name ‘Naveen Pal’ while claiming that his name was ‘Shubham’. Dubey even tried to slip away but was caught by the temple’s security guards and handed over to Ujjain Police.
A video of Ujjain Police escorting the dreaded criminal to a vehicle has also surfaced. In the video, he can be heard saying, “Main Vikas Dubey hun. Kanpur wala (I am Vikas Dubey, the one from Kanpur).”
Vikas Dubey was going to Ujjain Mahakal temple when he was identified by security personnel. Police were informed, he confessed his identity after being pushed for it. He has been apprehended by police & interrogation is underway: Ashish Singh, Ujjain Collector #MadhyaPradesh https://t.co/tBNHn3pwuw
— ANI (@ANI) July 9, 2020
The Special Task Force (STF) hired a chartered plane on Thursday and flew to Ujjain to take custody of Vikas Dubey. He was handed over to the STF on the orders of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Officials clarified that there was no need for transit remand since Dubey was never officially arrested by Ujjain Police.
Later in the day, STF arrested Dubey’s wife Richa and the family’s domestic help from their residence in Lucknow’s Krishnanagar. Reports have indicated that Vikas and Richa’s elder son, a minor, has also been detained by the STF on charges of abetting his father, a fugitive. As per the latest inputs, all three are being questioned in Kanpur.
During preliminary interrogation by police in Ujjain, Vikas Dubey told investigators that sources in the Kanpur Police had alerted him about the raid beforehand. This gave him enough time to summon his aides, arm them and set up an ambush using floodlights and a JCB as a shield.
Dubey further added that he had planned to gather the bodies of policemen who fell during the failed raid and burn them to destroy any evidence. However, the arrival of a backup police team forced him to flee the spot without getting rid of the bodies of slain cops.
Police officials in MP who interviewed Dubey also said that he instructed his aides to run in different directions in the aftermath of the encounter.
“I was scared that police will shoot me in an encounter,” said the man accused in multiple murder and attempt to murder cases prior to the ambush on July 2.
According to inputs, Vikas Dubey fled his home in Kanpur’s Bikru village and spent two days at the home of an associate in neighbouring Shivli village. He then managed to travel to Faridabad in Haryana where he was captured outside a hotel on CCTV.
Dubey then travelled to Ujjain in a four-wheeler along with two lawyers. The car they used had a Lucknow registration number and a High Court sticker on it. Ujjain police found recovered this car from Dewas Gate. It was also captured by cameras at the Shivpuri toll plaza at 11 PM on July 7.
He travelled through three state borders and across seven districts, dodging the STF and more than 40 teams of the UP Police on his trail.
Both the lawyers who accompanied Vikas Dubey are being questioned.
An Ujjain-based liquor trader, originally from Chitrakoot in UP, has been arrested on suspicion of facilitating Dubey’s commute and stay in Madhya Pradesh.
During the manhunt to nab the gangster, police have also arrested his brother-in-law from Shahdol.
Vikas’ right-hand man Amar Dubey was gunned down in an encounter with UP Police in Hamirpur district. Another of his aides, Prabhat Mishra was also picked up from Faridabad, gunned down and later found positive for the novel coronavirus. Police officers said Mishra was killed in Panki as he tried to evade police custody by attempting to snatch a cop’s service weapon.
Bauwa Dubey, a key aide of Vikas Dubey with a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head was also killed in an encounter with UP Police in Etawah district.