Several Opposition leaders on Friday hinted at a police-politician-gangster nexus and raised doubts about the way notorious gangster Vikas Dubey was killed. According to the police, the encounter took place after a road accident occurred while Dubey was being taken to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh from Madhya Pradesh.

Dubey was arrested in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district on Thursday in connection with the murder of eight policemen in Kanpur on July 3. The police on Friday claimed that one of the vehicles of the Uttar Pradesh Police escorting Dubey back to the state from Madhya Pradesh overturned on a highway early in the morning, after which he tried to escape.

“Vikas Dubey attempted to flee by snatching pistol of the injured policemen after car overturned,” Kanpur Superintendent of Police Anil Kumar said. “The police [personnel] tried to make him surrender, during which he fired at the policemen. He was injured in retaliatory firing by police. He was later rushed to the hospital.”

Samajwadi Party chief and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav alleged that the killing was staged to save the government from collapsing. On Thursday, Yadav had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to clarify whether Dubey surrendered or if he was arrested. He had also demanded that the call details record be made public to expose “those hand in glove with him”.

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati has demanded a Supreme Court-monitored inquiry into the car accident and the subsequent killing of Dubey in police custody.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Uma Bharti congratulated the police but raised a few questions. “Now three things still remain shrouded in mystery,” she tweeted. “1) How did he reach Ujjain 2) For how long was he in the vicinity of the Mahakal temple? 3) Given that his face was splashed so much on TV that anyone could recognise him, how did the police take so long to recognise him?”

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also raised some questions. “The criminal has gone, but what about the crime and those protecting him,” she tweeted in Hindi. On Thursday, she had alleged that the Uttar Pradesh Police was not prompt. She had also sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the case.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also demanded a judicial inquiry by a sitting Supreme Court judge into the killing. “Congress demands that the unholy nexus between organised crime and the ilk of Vikas Dubey with those sitting in the echelons of power be probed by a sitting Supreme Court judge,” he said at a press conference.

Surjewala added that Uttar Pradesh has become synonymous with hooliganism and criminals like Dubey were allowed to move around freely in the state.

Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh said Dubey’s killing by the police was expected. “Exactly what we had been suspecting, happened now,” he tweeted. “Which political figures, police and other officials that Vikas Dubey was connected to, will never be known now.”

His party colleague Karti P Chidambaram also said that Dubey’s killing was predictable. “The biggest mob in India is the UP Police headed by a ‘Don’ Now everything is settled. All inconvenient truths buried for good.”

Deputy Leader of Shiv Sena and Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra Priyanka Chaturvedi used an old Hindi proverb to describe the incident. “Na rahega bas, na bajegi basuri [to treat the trouble at the source to avoid a bigger mess],” she tweeted.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said, “Dead men tell no tales.”

Many Opposition leaders on Thursday had alleged that Dubey’s arrest was staged. Their 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.

Questions were also raised over how Dubey, who was reportedly last spotted in Faridabad, managed to travel from Haryana to Madhya Pradesh.

Also read:

‘Arrest or surrender?’: Opposition raises questions after MP Police take Vikas Dubey into custody

The Kanpur shootout and Dubey’s subsequent arrest

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, early on July 3. 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. Dubey was finally caught – after six days – on the premises of the Mahakaleshwar temple. He was taken to the police station, where his identity was established.

Dubey had bought a Rs 250 ticket for VIP darshan at the temple. As he was leaving, the security guards asked him his name, and an argument ensued. Eventually, Dubey disclosed his identity, and was taken to the police station. The MP Police got in touch with their UP counterparts and asked for Dubey’s photograph.