New Delhi, Jul 9 (efe-epa).- Indian gangster Vikas Dubey was arrested on Thursday following an extensive manhunt after grabbing headlines for a week for being involved in a shootout in which eight police officers were killed in an attempt to arrest him.
The police chase, which kept the nation on tenterhooks, has been marked by two of Dubey’s associates dying in police custody and the arrest of two police officers for allegedly helping the gangster, even as many questions about his possible political connections remain unanswered.
“I only want to say that he has been arrested and is in our custody,” Narottam Mishra, the home minister of the central state of Madhya Pradesh told reporters on Thursday, soon after it was revealed that Dubey was arrested from a famous temple in the city of Ujjain.
Videos aired by news broadcasters showed the gangster being held by a group of police officers against a vehicle and identifying himself by shouting “Vikas Dubey, from Kanpur,” a city in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh. One of the officers immediately responded by hitting Dubey on the neck.
Dubey’s face had become familiar across the country after being splashed on front-pages of newspapers and flashing on TV screens since July 2, when 8 police officers were killed in a shootout with his gang.
Uttar Pradesh authorities later acknowledged that the gangster and his accomplices seemed to have known about the plans of the security forces, which tried to carry out an early-morning raid to arrest him in connection with a recent case and were fired upon on their arrival.
Dubey fled after the showdown and triggered a manhunt that finally ended on Thursday, the same day when two of his associates were killed in a couple of “encounters” with the police.
According to the police, one of these – Bauva Dubey – was killed in a shootout near the city of Etawah in Uttar Pradesh.
City police superintendent Akash Tomar said in a statement that Bauva was fleeing after stealing a car and began firing at the police when intercepted. He was seriously injured in retaliatory firing and declared dead on arrival at a hospital, according to the police version of events.
Another ally of Vikas, Prabhat Mishra was also killed on Thursday under police custody in Uttar Pradesh. Authorities said that he snatched the pistol of an officer and was killed in the ensuing shootout.
The incidents of July 2, in which Dubey and his gang seem to have been anticipating the arrival of the police party and ambushed them, has put the spotlight on the clout enjoyed by the gangster, who allegedly wielded powerful political influence.
He may have been tipped off by members of the Kanpur police itself, as the local superintendent, Dinesh Kumar has announced the arrests of a sub-inspector and a retired officer in this regard, according to local media reports.
Manoj Shukla, the brother of a politician of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party who was killed by Dubey two decades ago, recently alleged that Vikas had enjoyed the backing of successive governments.
Shukla told reporters earlier this week that Dubey was a “dangerous criminal,” who had kept escaping the law due to political patronage and had been let-off from serious crimes due to his connections. EFE-EPA