Kanpur: For the Uttar Pradesh Police, 47-year-old Vikas Dubey is a dreaded criminal, and the prime accused in the brutal murder of eight policemen in Kanpur Thursday night.
But residents of his village see him as a dabang (influential) neta, who always helped out people in need.
According to residents of Bikaru village in Kanpur, Dubey had good connections with all political parties and even local policemen.
Such is his influence in his village that not a single resident would utter a word against Panditji — Dubey’s local name. When ThePrint asked the villagers about the Thursday’s incident, most feigned ignorance as if nothing had happened.
At the centre of Kanpur rural’s politics
According to the villagers, Dubey had good connections with all political parties.
Raju Kumar, a resident of the village, said whenever there used to be any election in the area, Dubey would remain at the centre of it.
The post of gram pradhan has remained in the grip of Dubey’s family for the last 15 years.
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Villagers said leaders from all political parties would queue up to get his support. That is why his photos with leaders of political parties are circulating in the social media.
उत्तरप्रदेश सरकार के क़ानून मंत्री ब्रजेश पाठक और विकास दुबे एक साथ। ये रिश्ता क्या कहलाता है? pic.twitter.com/7Q2paPHPql
— Surya Pratap Singh IAS Rtd. (@suryapsingh_IAS) July 3, 2020
“He was famous for his politics targeted at upper castes, but his relations with leaders of other castes were also considered good,” said a villager, who didn’t want to be named.
A second villager said: “He was a dabang neta and not a criminal in this village.”
An elderly citizen of the village, who didn’t want to be identified, said Dubey was planning to contest the assembly elections from Raniyaan segment of Kanpur Dehat.
“For this, he had tried to contact all the political leaders from Lucknow to Delhi. He was considered close to the leaders in BSP and SP, but now he was trying to improve his relations with the BJP too,” he added.
Villagers said they often read about Dubey’s criminal activities in newspapers, but he never attacked anyone in the village.
Even when he was the gram pradhan, he often helped the poor. He used to spend a generous amount of money on weddings of the villagers.
Rani Devi, a villager, said Dubey had helped her financially for her daughter’s wedding.
60 criminal cases
According to a police statement issued Friday, Dubey has 60 cases registered against him — ranging from murder to kidnapping and robbery — in Kanpur.
Lallan Vajpayee, a former Zilla Panchayat member from the nearby Shibli village, said Dubey was charged with murder for the first time in 1991 when he just 17 years old. After this, numerous charges of murder, kidnapping, land grabbing, etc. kept piling up against his name.
In 2000, his name cropped up in the murder case of Siddheshwar Pandey, the assistant manager of Tarachand Inter College located in Shivli police station area.
In the same year, he was accused of hatching a conspiracy to kill a local resident Rambabu Yadav.
In 2001, he was charged with murdering former BJP state minister Santosh Shukla inside a police station. Dubey managed to evade conviction in this case as most witnesses turned hostile, according to the statement.
In 2004, Dubey’s name came up in a murder case of a local cable businessman, Dinesh Dubey.
Four years later, in 2018, he was accused of murdering his own cousin, Anurag.
Anurag’s wife had filed an FIR against four people, including Dubey. In this case, he was arrested the same year, but he got bail in February this year.
A third villager said Dubey always maintained close connections with the policemen of the local police stations. “Many of them also worked as his informers,” the villager told ThePrint.
ADG, Kanpur Zone, Jai Narayan Singh had told ThePrint Friday it is possible that someone might have informed Dubey in advance about the arrival of police.
“This is why he had managed to place his men with guns and pistols. Right now, police are investigating as to who might have tipped him,” he had said.
His family never lived in the village
Rani Devi said Dubey’s family never lived in the village. His wife and two children live in Krishnanagar area of Lucknow.
Dubey always kept his family away from the village. His wife was a former SP member of the Zilla Panchayat in Bikaru, but all her official works were done by Dubey himself.
Villagers also said Dubey always moved along with a gang of 20-25 boys. He made it a point to include youths from nearby areas in his team and used to bear their expenses too.
He owns a palatial house in the village, which was equipped with CCTV cameras at the main entrance gate.
Police sources said Dubey disabled all the cameras before fleeing from the crime scene.
UP Police have launched a major search operation to nab him.
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