Officials said the biggest suspect in the killing of eight police officers in an ambush last week and dozens of other crimes was shot dead in police custody while trying to escape.
Police officer Mohit Agarwal said Vikas Dobby kidnapped a pistol from the officers after their car overturned on a highway near the northern city of Kanpur and tried to escape. He said that Dobby died in a shootout.
Duby, in his forties, surrendered in the central town of Eugene after a week-long research. He was driving in a police convoy to Kanpur, where eight police officers were killed.
He is believed to have links with state and police politicians. Two police officers were arrested this week for allegedly extracting them from a police raid on his home last Friday.
State government spokesman Avnish Usti said that in the past four days, police had killed six of Dubi’s alleged partners in helping him evade arrest.
Amarnath Agarwal, leader of the opposition Congress Party, accused the police of planning to kill Dubi. “It was committed out of the impression that Duby did not reveal the names of the people who provided him with protection and care.”
Police custody deaths are not isolated incidents in India.
A report last month by a rights group in New Delhi, the National Campaign against Torture, said that at least 1,731 people died in custody during 2019, which means five deaths in custody a day.
In December last year, police shot four men suspected of raping and killing a young veterinarian in southern India after investigators took them to the crime scene. Human rights groups have called for an investigation into the deaths.
Ganeshyam Udayhai, a Mumbai-based lawyer, lodged a petition to the Supreme Court of India on Thursday to investigate the deaths of Dubi’s alleged partners who will be investigated.
Duby was killed before the court decided his appeal.
The New Delhi TV channel reported that police stopped the media cars after the police convoy on the highway half an hour before Dubi was killed. There was no immediate comment from the police.
Last week, the police sought to arrest Dubi and others accused of being in his criminal gang. Police said the suspects blocked the road with rigs and shot them from rooftops. Five officers were also wounded, and the attackers fled before the police reinforcements could reach the area.
Uttar Pradesh, with a population of 230 million, is one of the poorest states in India. It is also considered one of the most lawless countries with high incidence of armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom and crimes against women, according to the National Crime Registry.
Dubey is alleged to have been involved in 60 cases of murder, theft and kidnapping. Among them was the killing of the local Bharatiya Janata Party leader Santosh Shukla at a police station in 2001. Two policemen were also killed in the attack.