- Vikas Dubey is charged in 60 criminal cases including murder, kidnapping
- Police teams were fired at from rooftops by shooters associated to Dubey
- A raid was planned after he was accused in a fresh attempt to murder case
Eight policemen in Uttar Pradesh were shot dead early Friday at a village in Kanpur where they had gone to arrest a criminal wanted for murder. The policemen arrived to indiscriminate firing from all sides by the criminal and his associates, all armed with AK-47s.
A Deputy Superintendent of Police, Divendra Kumar Mishra, three sub-inspectors and four constables were killed in Bikru village, which is 150 km from state capital Lucknow. Two of the shooters were killed by the police.
Fifty policemen from three stations had gone to the village in search of a politically-connected, wanted gangster - Vikas Dubey - charged in 60 criminal cases including murder, kidnapping, extortion and rioting. A raid was planned at his village after he was accused in a fresh attempt to murder case.
"The intention was to arrest him. There was an ambush. The firing by criminals was from three sides and it was totally planned," said Dinesh Kumar, Kanpur's police chief.
According to a statement by UP Director General of Police (DGP) HC Awasthi, Vikas Dubey and other men had put up road blocks on the routes that lead to the village.
An earthmover blocking the road indicated an organized ambush. The policemen were forced to abandon their car and walk to the village in pre-dawn darkness.
Once they managed to get to the village, they were fired at from rooftops by shooters who were ready for them.
"They started firing once the force got down from their vehicles .. we fired back at them, but they (criminals) were at a height and it was dark," said Mr Awasthi.
Visuals from a nearby hospital showed ambulances bringing in wounded policemen. A road taken by the policemen when they were attacked is splattered with blood.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath condoled the deaths and asked for a report on the incident amid questions about lack of proper planning by the police teams who went after Vikas Dubey.
The UP police chief has been directed to take strict action against criminals, said a statement from the Chief Minister's office.
Vikas Dubey has a long history of crime, including an alleged role in the sensational 2001 murder of a BJP politician who was chased and shot dead inside a police station; he was acquitted in that case.