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Monday, August 03, 2020

New commission is to probe Vikas Dubey's killing

By on Monday, August 03, 2020

The governor of UP nullyfied her earlier notification which she issued to probe Vikas Dube's encounter on July 10th last month and reconstituted a commission of inquiry through state home ministry's notification to investigate all the matters of public importance.
According to the source  the step has been taken by state government of UP since Apex Court mooted the several questions over the history sheeter killing.

 The commission of enquiry shall examine, enquire and report the issues

1- The incident on night 02.07.2020 - 03.07.2020 in which Vikas Dubey and his associates allegely killed 08 policemen and grievously injured other police personnel;
2- Dated 10.07.2020 in which Vikas Dubey got killed while being brought from Madhya Pradesh to Kanpur;
3- The police actions while arresting the accomplices of Vikas Dubey between 02.07.2020-03.07.2020 and 10.07.2020;
4- About collusion, if Vikas Dubey and his associates with Police and other departments/persons and to give suggestions for preventing its recurrance in future;
5- The facts and circumstances which resulted in the release of Vikas Dubey on bail/parole and action/inaction of the authorities who dealt with the matter for the same.
6- The efforts, if any, made for  cancellation of bails/parole granted to Vikas Dubey and also to enquire as to why efforts were not made to get the bail granted in case crime no. 65/2020 and other offences cancelled;
7- And examine any other aspect relating to the above mentioned terms of reference as the Commission may consider appropriate and/ or necessary;
8- Any other point referred by the State Government from time to time.

 What roadmap of probe may lead?

First, the life and then the death of Vikas Dubey continue to dominate headlines. His death in an encounter by the police has been brought to the attention of the Supreme Court, which is mulling over setting up an enquiry and also asking some uncomfortable questions.
Irrespective of whether an encounter is considered fake or justified, any attempt to question the motives of those responsible or to hold them accountable for a criminal act, arouses strong emotions. Those who stand up in defence of the police never fail to pull a hoary chestnut out of the raging fire of disputation between the proponents of human rights and those of ‘law and order’.
In his defence of the encounter of Dubey, former director general of police (DGP) of UP, Vikram Singh, states that the police version of the encounter is based on ‘clinching and material evidence’, that Dubey was a deadly criminal against whom no one in Kanpur dared to file a complaint with the police (while those killed in the Hyderabad encounter were not hardened criminals). This seems to imply that Singh thinks that Dubey deserved the death he got, whether or not the circumstances were what the police claimed.
Most significantly, the important thing to note is that Singh offers that old cliché of the need to lend the police generous and incompetent and unquestioning support, apparently because, otherwise, the police would fall prey to ‘demoralisation’.
This, therefore is the excuse: that any charge of criminal behaviour to the police and any demand to punish them if proved will demoralise them. Not because they are innocent or indeed their actions justified, but to save them from ‘demoralisation’, no questions are to be raised about any kind of encounters.
It is not surprising, therefore, that even a legal luminary of Harish Salve’s eminence, did not hesitate to play that card before the Supreme Court, which is hearing a case praying for an enquiry into the killing of Dubey in which he is representing the UP Police. He told the judges, “This is not a case that merits a judicial intervention or a committee with judicial officers. Such an enquiry would also demoralise the police force.”
This threat of the police force being demoralised to the extent that it will not be able to render service to society, leaving common citizens at the mercy of criminals and murderers is used again and again to silence all questions and all criticism regarding the methods used by the police which may amount to criminal acts. The questioners and critics will, therefore, themselves be responsible for the unfettered growth of criminal behaviour and the inability of the police to deal with it.

What really is responsible for demoralisation?

The police force (along with others responsible for protecting the lives of citizens often at the cost of their own) must certainly be spared demoralisation. The question is what is really responsible for their often feeling demoralised and despondent? The life and times of Vikas Dubey provide many answers.
Who is responsible for the fact that Singh brings to our attention, that “nobody even dared to lodge a complaint against him in the police station or testify against him”? Certainly not sundry human rights activists or public interest litigators. The ones responsible for this state of affairs are those who fail utterly in carrying out their responsibility and constitutional duty to administer justice: the people at the helm of the police, the administration, the judiciary and the government.
Early in his criminal life, Dubey could succeed and gain greater notoriety because of the complicity of those who should have been restraining and punishing him. 
As early as 1998, when he was a fledgling criminal, he was arrested by the police in an attempt-to-murder case. The police party rounding him up was attacked by his family members and supporters. The policemen were beaten, some had their uniforms torn and Dubey absconded. 
Nothing was done to punish any of those responsible for this humiliation inflicted on the police, a humiliation that must have surely left many of them demoralised.
Much emboldened, Dubey then made a start to kill a BJP leader enjoying the status of a minister of state in the then BJP government – along with two policemen – inside a police station near his village.  Unbelievably, he was allowed to escape and to ‘surrender’ almost a year later, after which he held court in the Maati (Kanpur Dehat) jail, from where he was alleged to have masterminded every kind of crime including murder.
Astonishingly, on every court hearing date, his supporters erected a huge pandal in front of the district court. It was filled with hundreds of local people, many of them heavily armed, and overawed to abuse and taunt those who came to testify against Dubey. This was, of course, in full view of the police and judiciary who were enjoined upon to protect the witnesses. Not surprisingly, all the witnesses were completely ‘demoralised’, policemen turned hostile and, in a few years, Dubey was acquitted. What effect this had on the families of the two policemen murdered earlier and the entire Thana in which the triple murder took place can only be imagined.
The BJP was still in power at the time of Dubey’s acquittal, but the appeal filed in the high court has done nothing but gather dust. All those responsible for these disgraceful acts are part of the system that has bestowed upon them power and authority to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.
Dubey went from strength to strength: murdering, acquiring properties in places as far away as Bangkok and Dubai in addition to land around his village and helping important industrialists attain unimaginable heights of corporate success. He was jailed and convicted for one of several murders more than a decade ago, but was released on parole that ended only with his death. 
The Supreme Court itself has expressed astonishment over this and has asked the UP Government for an explanation.
Since his release on parole, Dubey was unassailable in his village mansion until the fateful night of July 2, when circle officer Devendra Mishra was finally given the permission to arrest Dubey (he had been requesting it for a week). His request was granted by the new SSP of Kanpur, who had taken charge only two days earlier. Before this, Mishra had not been able to make any headway. The station officer of the local Thana, technically Mishra’s subordinate, took his orders from Dubey and the earlier SSP too had not agreed.
It is illustrative of the clout that Dubey enjoyed at every level that his name did not find mention in the list of the most wanted persons of the state or even the district. Not even of his local Thana! Had it been otherwise, the SSP would have ensured that many more men were deployed for the arrest and the policemen would perhaps be wearing bulletproof vests.
The JCV barricade on road was a hint at the preparedness of criminals, but this alert was taken easily by the raiding police.
 Dubey was clearly informed much in advance about the approval to arrest him in his own village, probably by the station officer of ‘his’ local station and some others in the force.
 The result was the brutal ambushing and killing of eight brave policemen, including CO Mishra. Nothing could have been more demoralising for every self-respecting member of the police force of the state.
The day after this brutal killing, hundreds of policemen were deployed at Dubey’s village. Many photographs of them appeared in the daily newspapers, they were seen innumerable times on the TV channels too: horrorstruck as they gazed down at the mutilated bodies of their brother policemen. Many shed tears of anger and anguish, many others were despondent and no doubt thoroughly demoralised.
A week later, Dubey was dead, killed by the police. With his death, many secrets of deals and dealers also died. Many heaved a sigh of relief – those whom he had oppressed and also those with whom he had connived.
His death was claimed as a victory over crime and a morale booster for the force by many who have regularly expressed concern over the dangers of a demoralised force. None of them, however, has even commented on the fact that seven accused in the murder of inspector Subodh Singh were garlanded and escorted from jail after just six months of incarceration, amid celebrations in the presence of the police, some of whom may have watched Subodh Singh die. Earlier this week, Shikhar Aggarwal – the main accused in the murder – was appointed as the district general secretary of the Prime Minister’s Welfare Schemes Awareness Campaign and felicitated by a BJP leader.
Multiple enquiries are now being conducted into Dubey’s life and death and strenuous attempts are being made to unravel innumerable and endless threads connecting his humble village to the corridors of power of Uttar Pradesh and other states. Other ‘Dubeys’, however, are waiting in the wings to step into the vacuum his death has created. They are determined to walk in his footsteps and are confident that they will be helped along the way by those that helped him.
In one place, the police affidavit says Vikas Dubey “was facing 64 cases, was serving a life sentence in one of the case [sic] and was out on parole”. Later, in trying to answer why the name of such a notorious gangster was not there in the list of 25 most wanted criminals, the affidavit says he “was in the list of wanted criminals in Kanpur Nagar and he was carrying a reward of Rs 5 lakhs… He was a history sheeter… He was under continuous surveillance”. 
Curiously, the affidavit does not say when Dubey was granted parole and when this was due to end. The Supreme Court said the fact that such a notorious gangster was “out on bail” showed the “failure of the institution”. However, what is truly astonishing is that the UP DGP cannot get his story straight on a relatively inconsequential matter even though he is on oath: Being “on parole” and “under continuous surveillance” means Vikas Dubey’s whereabouts were at all times known to the police. But his being on a list of wanted criminals and carrying a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh means Dubey’s whereabouts were not known to the police. So which was it? Or could it be that this politically influential gangster was, in reality, neither wanted nor under police watch prior to the disastrous shootout of July 2 in which eight policemen were killed?
The commission shall be headed by Dr. Justice BS Chauhan, former Judge of Supreme Court; 
 and comprising Mr. Justice Shashikant Agarwal, former Judge of Allahabad High Court; and KL Gupta, IPS former DGP shall be members of this probing team.