Police in Uttar Pradesh suspended two sub-inspectors and a constable on Monday over suspicion that they leaked information of an operation targeting dreaded criminal Vikas Dubey, whose accomplices shot dead eight members of the team that went on the late-night raid to Bikru village near Kanpur city.
Officials were also probing a purported report by deputy superintendent Devendra Mishra, killed in the failed raid on Thursday night, indicting another sub-inspector suspended earlier in the case over his alleged links with Dubey while also indicating that there could be a deep rot in the system.
On another front, police intensified efforts to locate the hardened criminal and his men who escaped in the dark after the chilling 15-minute ambush. Officials put up posters with images of the 48-year-old Dubey at toll plazas amidst apprehensions that he had already left the state, and increased the bounty on him to Rs 2.5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh.
“...as soon as he crosses any of these toll plazas, information on his whereabouts can be obtained...Some teams have also been sent to other states. We are expecting news soon,” Mohit Agarwal, Kanpur inspector general of police, said.
Uttar Pradesh director general of police HC Awasthy said the police were conducting raids to track down Dubey, who faces 60 criminal cases. An alert has been sounded in all 75 districts of the state and 25 teams from 40 police stations were pressed into action.
In Chaubeypur, where an attempt to murder case was registered against Dubey on Wednesday, sub-inspectors Kunwar Pal and KK Sharma and constable Rajeev were suspended over their suspected collusion with the gangster.
“A preliminary enquiry has been initiated against the three suspended policemen,” Dinesh Kumar P, Kanpur’s senior superintendent of police, said.
Officials believe that Dubey, an influential gangster whose criminal records date back to 1993, had supporters in the police force and that they helped him and his gang have a free run despite cases of murder, attempted murder and abduction against them.
Daya Shankar Agnihotri, an aide of Dubey arrested on Sunday, has said in a video statement that a caller from a police station informed the gangster about the raid. Officials suspect that it could be the police station in Chaubeypur, about 14km from Bikru. The team that raided Bikru on Thursday night left from the police station there.
Police also said they were investigating reports that Bilhaur circle officer Mishra, who led the raid team to Dubey’s village, told former Kanpur senior superintendent of police that Vinay Tiwari, the Chaubeypur station officer who was the first person to be suspended in the case, was protecting Dubey. HT has seen the report, which was sent on March 14, but cannot independently verify its authenticity.
“He [Dubey] killed a man in Shivli police station; I had instructed SO Chaubeypur to initiate strict action against such a hardened criminal. I have already spoken to you [SSP] about the criminal and the case,” a part of the purported report read.
Local police officials who did not want to be named said Mishra regularly complained about Tiwari, and asked for a preliminary enquiry against him over his alleged links with Dubey.
Tiwari has been suspended though officials have not specified the exact nature of allegations against him. He is under probe.
“If the report is true, it is damning,” said Jai Narayan Singh, the Kanpur additional director general. He confirmed that the report was brought to his notice and that he asked for all documents for a thorough examination.