The Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh Police on Friday claimed that the car, transporting gangster Vikas Dubey, overturned after the driver attempted to avoid a herd of cows and buffaloes, reported NDTV. Dubey, an accused in the murder of eight policemen, was killed earlier in the day while he was being moved in police custody to Kanpur from Madhya Pradesh.

The police claimed Dubey attempted to flee from their custody after snatching a gun, but was killed in retaliatory firing. The Uttar Pradesh Police maintained that they had tried to catch him alive. Dubey was on the run after he was accused of ambushing a police team and killing eight officers on July 3 in Kanpur’s Bikru village. He was arrested on Thursday.

However, the Opposition raised questions about the episode. Many political leaders claimed that Dubey was killed as he could have possibly revealed uncomfortable details of an alleged police-gangster-politician nexus in the state.

The Uttar Pradesh STF, in a statement, said the vehicle carrying Dubey lost control and overturned after the driver, who was tired after a long journey, took a sudden turn trying to avoid the cattle that suddenly ran onto the road. Five policemen were severely injured and dazed by the accident, it added.

“The brazen criminal Vikas Dubey took advantage of the situation and snatched a gun from inspector Ramakant Pachauri and ran towards the kachcha [unpaved] road,” the STF said. “With the aim to grab the accused alive, the policemen including the deputy superintendent got very close to Vikas Yadav, who unleashed a barrage of fire on the cops at the last moment. Left with no other options, the police team had to open fire in self-defense and in pursuance of their duty. Accused Vikas Dubey fell down after receiving bullet injuries fired by cops in retaliation. He was immediately provided with first aid and taken to a government hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.”

Two police officers, Shivendra Singh Sengar and Vimal Yadav, injured in firing by the gangster, are still in hospital, the STF said.

Dubey sustained four bullet injuries, three in the chest and one in the hand, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Medical College Principal Dr RB Kamal told reporters. Dubey’s postmortem will be conducted by a panel of doctors.

However, there are still several unanswered questions about the killing, including the reason Dubey was not handcuffed when he was being taken to Kanpur and why the media was stopped two km from the site of the incident. A video shared on social media also showed that Dubey was in a Tata Safari when the convoy went through a toll booth on its way to Kanpur. But the vehicle that was found overturned was a TUV 300.

Dubey was an accused in 60 criminal cases, of various offences including attempted murder. Five of his aides had been killed in the past few days. Two of them were shot dead in encounters just hours before his arrest.

Also read: Uttar Pradesh Police account of how Vikas Dubey was killed in custody raises serious questions