Several Opposition leaders on Thursday raised questions after gangster Vikas Dubey, who was wanted in connection with the murder of eight policemen in Kanpur, was arrested in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district. Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, on the other hand, praised the efforts of the police in Madhya Pradesh as well as Uttar Pradesh. Both the states are ruled by the saffron party.

Madhya Pradesh minister Narottam Mishra confirmed that Dubey was in police custody. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said he has spoken with his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Adityanath. “Further action will be taken,” said Chouhan. “The Madhya Pradesh Police will hand over Vikas Dubey to Uttar Pradesh Police.” A Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh Police has left for Ujjain, reported News18.

On July 3, a deputy superintendent of police, three sub inspectors and four constables were shot dead while trying to arrest Dubey, who has 60 criminal cases against him, in Bikru village, Kanpur. Four others were critically injured. Several of Dubey’s aides have either been arrested or killed in encounters over the past week.

The gangster escaped after the encounter on July 3, following which there were reports of him being seen in Faridabad. The Uttar Pradesh Police had placed a bounty of Rs 5 lakh on him.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to clarify whether Dubey surrendered or if he was arrested. “News is coming that the main accused in the Kanpur case is in police custody,” he tweeted. “If this is true, the government should clarify whether it was a surrender or an arrest. Besides, the CDR [call details record] should be made public so that those hand in glove with him could be exposed.”

Yadav’s comments came after reports said that Dubey went to Mahakal Temple in Ujjain and then himself asked the security personnel to inform the police. After this, the police officers came and took him away. Inspector General of Police, UP Special Task Force, Amitabh Yash also said that Dubey went to the police station to surrender and was arrested, reported Hindustan Times.

However, the Madhya Pradesh Police claimed that one of the guards at Mahakal Temple recognised him and informed the nearest police outpost.

Questions have also been raised how Dubey, who was reportedly last spotted in Faridabad, managed to travel from Haryana to Madhya Pradesh. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged that the Uttar Pradesh Police was not prompt. She has sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the case.

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said the incident “looks like a staged surrender to save Vikas Dubey from the encounter” by the Uttar Pradesh Police. “I have got to know that all this was fixed by a senior BJP leader of Madhya Pradesh,’’ he added.

Congress spokesperson Surendra Rajput also questioned if Dubey would be brought back to Uttar Pradesh safely. “Will he also try to run away and meet a fate similar to others?” he asked.

BJP leaders praise police’s efforts

BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya lauded the efforts of Madhya Pradesh Police. “The police arrested Vikas Dubey, a notorious criminal who had escaped from UP, and proved that the MP police is ready,” he tweeted. “It is also the success of the security personnel posted in the temple premises with the police that they recognised him immediately. God does not even save criminals.”

Uttar Pradesh BJP leader Keshav Prasad Maurya lauded the state police’s relentless efforts. “…It’s because of the UP police’s scare that he kept running to other states,” said Maurya. “UP police created such a situation that he was not left with many options, I congratulate Uttar Pradesh Police and Madhya Pradesh government.”

Jyotiraditya Scindia, who had helped the BJP topple the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh in March, also congratulated the police. He added that the accused paid his price at the temple.

Bihar director general of police congratulated the Madhya Pradesh Police. “Salute and congratulate Madhya Pradesh Police on the arrest of Vikas Dubey,” said Gupteshwar Pandey. “We were also on alert. If he had come here, we would have also nabbed him. He didn’t come to Bihar because I had said that if he comes here, he will not be able to escape.”