The family of an aide of gangster Vikas Dubey, who was killed in a police encounter, claimed he was a minor, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. The teenager, who was one of the 21 named in the FIR in the killing of eight policemen, was gunned down while allegedly trying to escape when he was being brought to Kanpur from Faridabad on July 9.

His mother Geeta Mishra told the newspaper that her son had cleared his Class 12 Uttar Pradesh school board exams on June 29, 10 days before he was killed. His Class 10 marksheet and Aadhaar card reportedly record his date of birth as May 27, 2004, making him 16 years of age.

“He was yet to collect his marksheet from his school,” she told the newspaper. “He wanted to join the Air Force... The police are falsely blaming him.”

However, Kanpur Inspector General Mohit Agarwal said he had no information on the boy’s age. The police in Faridabad – from where he was held – reported that his age was 19, Agarwal said. He added that the Haryana Police had recovered pistols that were used in the Bikru shootout from the teenager at the time of his arrest on July 8. “Dubey used to have youths in his gang,” he said. “He would influence them just as terrorists do.”

Dubey was arrested in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain city on Thursday for the murder of eight policemen in a shootout in Kanpur’s Bikru village on July 3. He was killed in police custody on July 10, while allegedly attempting to escape.

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Geeta Mishra added that her son’s father, Rajendra Kumar Mishra, 49, who works in a private firm in Kanpur, had not been home since the day of the encounter. Their daughter Himanshi Mishra also claimed the police were “trying to frame” Kumar. “We have come to know that Shashi Kant has said my father was also involved,” she said. Kant is a Bikru resident whose arrest for the July 3 shootout was announced by the police on Tuesday.

According to the police, this killing of the teenager in custody took place in Kanpur’s Panki area, when the police vehicle had a flat tyre. Like Dubey, the teenager allegedly snatched a pistol from the police and opened fire. The police claimed he was shot dead while trying to escape.

Along with the minor, the police of Faridabad had also arrested two other men – Shrawan and his son Ankur, from Shivrajpur in Kanpur – who they claimed were aides of Dubey. However, Geeta Mishra said she found out about her son’s arrest only on July 9, and had no knowledge about the two men the police claimed were with him. “ Hours later, I heard from mediapersons that the police had killed my son,” she said. “It is murder.”

On Tuesday, the Lucknow Police said that they have arrested another associate of Dubey, and seized two rifles that were looted during the Kanpur encounter on July 3. Last week, the Adityanath-led government formed a Special Investigation Team to investigate the deaths of the eight policemen.