Police on Tuesday arrested three more people for the killing of eight policemen in an ambush at a village near Kanpur, amid a simmering controversy over gangster Vikas Dubey’s alleged links with police and politicians.
IMAGE: Police and forensic team members investigate the site where eight police personnel lost their lives after being fired upon by criminals, in Kanpur, last week. Photograph: PTI Photo
Police appointed an inspector general to probe into an unverified letter that surfaced on social media, purportedly written weeks before his death by Deputy Superintendent of Police Devendra Mishra.
It had alleged links between the Chaubeypur station officer and the gangster.
Also, Inspector General (Civil Defence) Amitabh Thakur asked Uttar Pradesh police chief to probe the then Kanpur Senior Superintendent of Police Anant Deo, now a deputy inspector general, to whom the purported letter was sent.
Police said there is no trace of the letter in their records, but they will continue to investigate the matter.
DSP Devendra Mishra, posted as the Bilhaur circle officer, was among the eight policemen gunned down allegedly by the henchmen of Vikas Dubey in his Bikru village when they went to arrest him past midnight last Thursday.
Chaubeypur station officer Vinay Tiwari, mentioned in Mishra’s unverified letter, is among the four policemen suspended for their possible role in tipping off the gangster about his arrest.
Police on Tuesday said they have arrested three more people — Dubey’s relative Shama, neighbor Suresh Verma and domestic help Rekha.
Rekha’s husband Dayashankar Agnihotri, a key member of the Dubey’s gang, is already behind bars, arrested Sunday after an encounter in which police shot him in the leg.
Police have named 21 people in the first information report registered after the attack. The FIR also mentioned 50-60 unidentified people.
The Kanpur police released the photos of 15 criminals said to be close to Dubey.
They are putting up posters carrying the pictures of these alleged criminals, most of them carrying a reward of Rs 25,000 for their arrest.
Vikas Dubey, with a reward of Rs 2.5 lakh on him, remains elusive.
His posters too have been plastered at road toll plazas, including those in Unnao, Kanpur Nagar, Auraiya, Fatehpur and areas near the India-Nepal border.
Police have issued alerts in Lakhimpur Kheri, Maharajganj, Siddharthnagar, Bahraich and Gorakhpur to stop Vikas Dubey from escaping across the border intro Nepal.
Lucknow Range IG Lakshmi Singh on Tuesday began a probe into the letter purportedly sent by DSP Devendra Mishra by visiting the office of Circle Officer (Bilhaur), the post held by him. The IG questioned the staff, checked records and computer data, said an official.
She also seized a computer hard disk, pen drives and some documents, the official added.
The then Kanpur SSP Anant Deo, to whom the letter was supposedly sent, called it a fake. He said the signature on it did not match that of the slain officer. The letter was also undated and carried no serial number.
But Inspector General (Civil Defence) Amitabh Thakur has sought an inquiry into the alleged closeness between Deo and Jai Bajpai, a ‘frontman’ of gangster Dubey.
In his letter to Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police H C Awasthy, he sought the removal of Deo from the Special Task Force, where he is now posted as Deputy Inspector General, while an inquiry is on.
A video clip from 2017, apparently shot while Dubey was being interrogated by the STF after his arrest in Lucknow, has also appeared on social media.
In the clip, the alleged gangster suggests he has links with two local Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs, Bhagwati Sagar and Abhijeet Sanga, and the district panchayat chief.
He is heard claiming that Sagar and Sanga had helped him in the past when he faced police action. Both leaders denied this.
“My constituency is Bithoor in Kanpur and people from the adjoining village come to me for help,” said Sanga.
He added that on several occasions he had recommended action in support of people who were against Dubey.
Bilhaur MLA Sagar also denied ever helping Dubey. He said the clip was being circulated to malign his image.
The two MLAs said Dubey usually associated himself with leaders belonging to the ruling party in the state.
They demanded an inquiry into the matter.