Biswajeet Banerjee, Associated Press Published at 5:52 am July 10, 2020
The overturned vehicle carrying the main criminal Vikas Dubey is towed near Kanpur, India, on Friday, July 10, 2020. The main suspect in dozens of crimes, including the murder of eight police officers last week, was killed on shots on Friday in police custody while trying to escape, officials said. (Photo: AP)
LUCKNOW, India – The main suspect in the murders of eight police officers last week and dozens of other crimes was shot dead in police custody on Friday while trying to escape, officials said.
Vikas Dubey took a revolver from the police after the vehicle overturned on a road near the city of Kanpur in northern India and tried to escape, said police officer Mohit Aggarwal. He said that Dubey died in exchange for gunfire.
Dubey, 40, had given himself up in the central city of Ujjain on Thursday after a week-long search. He was being driven on a police train to Kanpur, where the eight policemen were killed.
He is believed to have ties to state politicians and the police. Two police officers were arrested this week for allegedly warning him about a police operation at his home last Friday.
In the past four days, police have killed six of Dubey’s alleged accomplices, helping him escape from prison, said Avneesh Awasthi, a spokesman for the state government.
Amarnath Aggarwal, leader of the opposition opposition party in Congress, accused the police of planning Dubey’s murder. “He was committed to why Dubey did not reveal the names of the people who provided him with support and protection.”
Deaths in police custody are not isolated incidents in India.
A report last month by a New Delhi rights group, the National Campaign Against Torture, said that at least 1,731 people died in custody during 2019, which means five prison deaths per day.
In December last year, police killed four men suspected of raping and killing a young veterinarian in southern India after investigators took them to the crime scene. Human rights groups have been calling for investigations into the deaths.
Ghanshyam Upadhayay, a Mumbai lawyer, had asked the Indian Supreme Court on Thursday that the murders of Dubey’s alleged accomplices be investigated.
Dubey was killed before the court could decide on his petition.
The New Delhi television channel reported that the police had stopped the media after the police train on the road half an hour before Dubey’s death. There were no immediate comments from the police.
Last week, police tried to arrest Dubey and others accused of being part of his criminal gang. Police say the suspects blocked the road with bulldozers and shot them on the roofs, police said. Five policemen were also injured and the attackers fled before police reinforcements arrived in the area.
Uttar Pradesh, with a population of 230 million, is one of the poorest states in India. It is also considered one of the most lawless, with high incidents of armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom and crimes against women, according to the National Crime Record Bureau.
Dubey was reportedly involved in 60 cases of murders, assaults and kidnappings. Among them was the death of local Bharatiya Janata Party leader Santosh Shukla at a police station in 2001. Two policemen also died in the attack.
Associated Press writer Sheikh Saaliq in New Delhi contributed to this report.
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