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Missing files, quick bail: Yogi govt panel claims gangster Vikas Dubey got ‘state patronage’

Panel headed by Justice B.S. Chauhan (Retd) probed killings of 8 police personnel & Dubey's subsequent encounter, and submitted a report to UP govt in 2021. Report made public this week.

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New Delhi: Protection orders from the Allahabad High Court, suspension of trial court proceedings, cryptic, quick and unopposed bail orders, no serious action from the state to prosecute, and missing case records these are some key observations made by the Justice BS Chauhan Commission probing the Vikas Dubey encounter case.

The panel has in a report stated that the alleged gangster enjoyed state and police patronage in Uttar Pradesh until he was gunned down in July 2020, and suggested action against errant police officers who allegedly aided Dubey.

“Vikas Dubey and his associates got bail orders from the courts easily and quickly as there had been no serious opposition by the state authorities/government advocates. He was involved in 64 criminal cases, (yet) the state authorities never considered it appropriate to engage a special counsel for his prosecution,” the three-member commission notes.

“The State never moved any application for cancellation of bail or approached the superior court for cancellation of any of the bail orders,” the report further states.

The panel was formed with retired Supreme Court judge Chauhan as chairperson on 22 July, 2020, to hold an inquiry into the killing of eight policemen and the subsequent encounters of Dubey and five of his alleged associates.

Running into 817 pages, the panel’s report was made public this week when it was uploaded on the Supreme Court website. This was done on the orders of a Chief Justice NV Ramana-led bench on 22 July, which directed its registry to put up the report on the official SC portal and ordered Uttar Pradesh to take action on the recommendations made by the commission.

With this, the court also wrapped up proceedings in two public interest litigations (PILs) by two lawyers to seek an impartial probe into the encounter, claiming it to be a staged one.

The commission had submitted the report in April 2021 to the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government, and it was tabled before the state assembly in August 2021. The report gives a clean chit to state police officers, observing that no eyewitness had raised doubts or questions over the authenticity of the encounter.

Last week, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told CJI Ramana’s court that the state had accepted the Justice Chauhan Commission recommendations, and that the report had been placed before the UP assembly.

Also read: Seeing Vikas Dubey as ‘Robin Hood of Brahmins’ distorts true picture of caste, crime, politics

The missing files

The report pulls up the UP Police for not tracing 21 case files on Dubey, despite the panel giving them five months to locate the crucial documents. In 12 of these cases, Dubey was acquitted and it is unknown whether the orders were challenged. While he is shown as on bail in one case, the report does not reveal any information regarding the rest.

The mystery of the missing files came to the panel’s knowledge when it asked for information on FIRs, charge sheets, list of witnesses along with their statements in the cases against Dubey. In response, the police said the documents were not traceable.

The commission has also criticised the UP Police for not putting up strong opposition in courts where cases against Dubey were heard and relief was granted to him. In some matters, the trial courts could not proceed because the Allahabad High Court had issued stay orders on them.

While these stay orders operated from anywhere between 13 and 14 years, and were lifted only recently — from 2018 onwards — the police made no efforts to either get these stays vacated or seek cancellation of Dubey’s bail, even upon his subsequent involvement in criminal activities. This emboldened Dubey to carry on with his alleged criminal activities, the report says.

On Dubey’s links with politicians, police, state administration and revenue authorities, the report has provided extensive details of his “good relations” with them and the “assistance” he got in procuring an arms’ licence and passports to carry out land-grab and other activities.

“Such assistance was in utter disregard to the statutory provisions of the Acts and Rules (under which cases were filed against Dubey), as the same had been violated with impunity; no authority had ever investigated any case properly so far as Vikas Dubey and his associates are concerned,” the report says.

It mentions eyewitness statements that say Dubey had support from the BSP and SP, the two parties that were in power in UP prior to the current BJP dispensation. But it rules out any particular politician’s support to Dubey.

Case studies

The commission gives an insight into some of the cases to illustrate the alleged state patronage extended to Dubey. One such example is of a murder case in which the trial court convicted Dubey on 14 June, 2004. However, on an appeal filed a day after the judgment was pronounced, the Allahabad High Court, which was on a summer break then, gave bail to Dubey on 16 June, 2004.

There were no reasons recorded in the bail order and the government advocate was not even heard. The only reason noted in the order was that Dubey was on bail during the trial, a ground not in consonance with the law, the commission said.

Conversely, in another murder case, when the UP government challenged Dubey’s acquittal before the HC, the latter refused to entertain the appeal, without providing any reasons. The HC failed to take note of the trial court’s remarks against the police for not investigating the case properly, even as the alleged murder took place inside a police station, the panel noted.

All police officials posted at the station had run away out of fear during the incident and the driver of the victim had turned hostile. In its observation on this case, the commission said neither did the state make efforts to engage a special counsel to place the case properly before the HC, nor did the government advocate apprise the judges about Dubey’s criminal history.

In another case registered under UP Control of Goondas Act, 1970, Dubey managed to get a stay order on the proceedings in December 2005. His petition against the said case got dismissed only in September 2018.

Dubey remained under protection in a case of robbery and dacoity for 14 years, after the HC restrained the trial court from hearing the case. This protection was eventually removed in November 2019 by the HC.

Similarly, on yet another petition to quash the case, this time in an attempt-to-murder case, the HC put on hold the trial court proceedings. After 13 years, in May 2019, it dismissed the plea and restored the hearing.

“The negligence of the State in pursuing these matters is obvious and needs corrective action for the future,” the commission observed.

(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)

Also read: Vikas Dubey’s wife on his crimes — Aaj Tak, India TV, Uma Bharti feels blessed — NewsNation

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