Uttar Pradesh gangster Vikas Dubey, principal accused in the cold-blooded murder of eight cops, was tipped off to a raid on his compound by someone from the local police station, Daya Shankar Agnihotri, an alleged accomplice, told cops on Sunday.
In addition, data recovered from Vikas Dubey's mobile phone listed the names of 20 police officers. There was evidence of constant contact with at least two cops, including one from the Chaubeypur Police Station; the village of Bikru, where the encounter took place, lies in its jurisdiction.
"He (Vikas Dubey) received a phone call from the police station before police came to arrest him. Following this, he called around 25-30 people (and they) fired bullets on police," Agnihotri, who was arrested earlier today after a gunfight in the Kalyanpur area, told cops.
"I was locked inside the house at the time of encounter, therefore, saw nothing," he added.
Vinay Tiwari, the ranking officer at the Chaubeypur station, has been suspended and is being interrogated, news agency ANI said.
"At the time of encounter, he fled the encounter site. Had he faced the criminals, situation could have been different," Mohit Agarwal, Inspector General (Kanpur Range), told the media.
The telephonic warning allowed Dubey, who has previously been charged in over 60 cases for murder, kidnapping, extortion and rioting, to gather henchmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles and prepare a deadly trap for a large team of police officers.
Eight police officers, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police, were killed. Seven others were injured.
The information has raised worrying questions over spies within the police helping criminals like Vikas Dubey, who has now evaded arrest for over 50 hours.
Kanpur police chief Mohit Agarwal has issued a strong warning to all police officers, telling NDTV that strict action will be taken against cops guilty of helping criminals.
All the workers of the local police station are under our scope of investigation on how Vikas Dubey got information about police movement. Whoever is found guilty will be charged with murder: Kanpur IG, Mohit Agarwal on Kanpur encounter in which 8 policemen lost their lives pic.twitter.com/c75yQD3g7o— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) July 5, 2020
Police have recovered a sports utility vehicle (SUV), a Ford EcoSport, in Auraiya district of UP. The car is registered to an Amit Dubey and it is being determined if Vikas Dubey used this car to escape. It is suspected Dubey has fled to either Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan; UP Police has contacted both states.
Over 25 police teams have been formed to capture Vikas Dubey and over 100 locations have been searched in the past 48 hours.
"Wanted" posters have also been put up at check-posts along the India-Nepal border. The cash reward for information leading to his arrest has been doubled to Rs 1 lakh, with assurances that the identity of the tipster will be kept secret.
The web of spies helping the politically-connected Vikas Dubey may extend to Kanpur's Shivli Power Sub-station as well. ANI quoted an operator, Chhatrapal Singh, as saying that on July 3, he received a phone call from the Chaubeypur station in to "cut power in Bikru village"; this was the day of the raid.
Vikas Dubey's criminal record began in 1990 with a case of murder. In 2001, he was charged with the murder of Santosh Shukla, a Kanpur BJP leader who was chased and shot dead inside a police station. Dubey "surrendered" in 2002 but was acquitted.
A criminal with political links, he was also the member of a political party in the past, and his house and cars were demolished and destroyed by Kanpur district authorities on Saturday.
With input from ANI