Thursday, March 30, 2023

So, who killed Vikas Dubey?

By Sujit Bhar

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Okay, nobody believes that gangster Vikas Dubey was killed in an ‘encounter’ with Uttar Pradesh Police’s Special Task Force (STF), when the vehicle he was being carted in suddenly turned turtle near Kanpur and Dubey jumped out and started to escape. He just had to be shot. The ‘encounter’ theory is creaky through overuse. Even a child does not believe it.

So, Vikas Dubey was killed. Nobody is grieving his death. Far from it. He was a terror and should have been hanged. But the question is, who killed Vikas Dubey? The immediate pointer is the STF. But they are but minions, hired to pull the trigger.

“Of course it is the system,” a senior, serving IPS officer told me on the condition of anonymity. “This is a system that suits everybody, even the b****y criminals. Frankly, a lot has been enshrined in the Constitution and several verdicts have been given by the Supreme Court towards extra-judicial killings and so-called ‘encounters’. Not a leaf of any tree of any system has moved. I do not want to comment on the Supreme Court, though.”

The general perception was that since Dubey “surrendered” to MP police in Ujjain, he could have had a thin umbrella of protection. That idea was shattered by this IPS officer. “Surrender? What is surrender? We have arrests, that is the term. We have had a man killing his wife and then walking down to the police station to surrender. But in the end it is an arrest.”

Technically, a surrender would have been possible in a court. Now that court work has mostly gone online, this was a long shot. It is possible, still, to surrender and that can be done online, explained a lawyer. “But to do that, you’d have to approach a lawyer and apply online. Which means the location of Dubey would have anyway been known to any police force, if it was looking. Did he fail to approach a lawyer, or did not have a fixed lawyer? Considering that he has 60 cases against him in courts, it is unlikely that he did not have one.

While the truth may never be known, it may be recalled that the Supreme Court has not taken lightly to extrajudicial killings in the past. In a case: Prakash Kadam vs Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta, the Supreme Court had observed that fake ‘encounters’ by the police are nothing but cold-blooded murders, and those committing them must be given death sentences, placing them in the category of ‘rarest of rare cases’.

In paragraph 26 of the judgment, it was observed:

“Trigger happy policemen who think they can kill people in the name of ‘encounter’ and get away with it should know that the gallows await them”.

“There are numerous such instances,” said the IPS officer, “and if even the Supreme Court does not have the clout to enforce its own rulings, who does?”

It is clear that the politicians would never allow the police to get out of hand. “A free police force is in no political party’s interest,” said the IPS officer. That’s probably why it’s a state subject in the first place. “A case in point is the AAP government of Arvind Kejriwal. He wants ‘control’ of the Delhi Police. Why should any political party have ‘control’ over the police anyway? Why should that word be used?”

He fell back on the issue of police reforms, but that would never be, he too realizes. “Would not a professional police force, under pressure from nobody, be good for society in general?” he asked.

Dubey fell through this dirty system’s many loopholes. The only regret is that a lot many deep secrets have died with him.

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