Nobody in government wants to break the dangerous nexus
The Supreme Court on Tuesday hinted at appointing a committee headed by a former judge to inquire into the killings of gangster Vikas Dubey and his associates in an encounter by the Uttar Pradesh police. The panel likely to be headed by a former apex court judge will also look into the killing of eight policemen in Uttar Pradesh by the gangster. The committee is expected to be on the lines of the panel appointed after the killing of four criminals involved in the rape and murder of a veterinarian by the Telangana police last year. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has directed the UP government to file a report of the steps taken in the case by July 16, following which the apex court directions are expected to be announced. The court made the observations while hearing several pleas filed by advocates and non-government organisations seeking a court-monitored probe into the UP killings. The plaintiffs have also sought a probe by the CBI or the NIA into the alleged police-criminal-politician nexus in the killings.
The killing of eight policemen, including a deputy superintendent of police, by Dubey and his associates and the killing of Dubey and his five associates by the police subsequently in an encounter have brought in their wake allegations of a politician-police-criminal nexus behind them. There have been allegations that Dubey was first tipped off by some men in the police force about police plans to arrest him, thereby compromising the safety of the raiding party, indicating a police-criminal nexus. It is surprising to note that despite a massive manhunt the dreaded gangster managed to escape the dragnet for six days and remained in hiding in three states before he was arrested in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh as he turned up to seek blessings at a temple. Encounter killings are nothing new in Uttar Pradesh, which has seen 119 “criminals”, including Dubey, eliminated since the Yogi Adityanath government came to power in 2017. The Uttar Pradesh government has hailed these encounter killings as its achievements. In the magisterial inquiries in 74 encounters where deaths occurred, the police got a clean chit.
The social media has been flooded with Dubey’s photos with top Uttar Pradesh politicians. Like his political mentors, Dubey changed loyalties and parties. It was only after his photographs with politicians, including that with the state Law Minister Brijesh Pathak went viral that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed intelligence agencies to submit a list of all the politicians, police officials and others who were accused of patronising Dubey. The encounter killings in the name of law and order in Uttar Pradesh have been in focus for long. Close on the heels of the Dubey encounter comes the news of a person being kidnapped for ransom in Kanpur and the police failing to do anything. Though the family of the victim sought the help of a high-ranking official of the district, the police failed to nab the criminals who made away with the ransom booty despite police presence. The police have been assuring the family that the booty would be recovered so also the kidnapped person, whose whereabouts are still unknown.
While questions have been raised over the manner in which Dubey was “eliminated” it is surprising to note that despite over 70 criminal cases including murders registered against him, his name did not figure in the updated list of most wanted criminals in the state. This is an indication that he enjoyed patronage of politicians and police officials. It has been a routine practice with the government to order a probe and seek details of the alleged politician-police-criminal nexus only after some major incident takes place, only to do nothing in practice. When no action is taken to break the nexus, incidents keep on happening, and again when some major incident gets highlighted in the media and the government faces attack by the opposition parties, the Chief Minister or Home Minister orders a probe again and lets the matter die out as it fades out of public memory. The truth is politics has been criminalised and most criminals have political patrons. The line between public servants and murderers, robbers and extortionists has been blurred.