July 11 (UPI) -- Police in India said they have killed a man accused of killing eight police officers after he stole an officer's gun and tried to flee.
After allegedly killing the eight policemen in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Vikas Dubey was on the run for nearly a week before he was detained in the neighboring state of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday.
Officers were transporting Dubey to Uttar Pradesh Friday when the car overturned amid heavy rain, and Dubey stole the officer's gun and attempted to flee, Inspector General, Kanpur Range, Mohit Agarwal, told India's PTI news agency. Dubey was rushed to the hospital and declared dead after an exchange of fire with police officers.
Agarwal added that four policemen were injured in the accident.
PTI referred to Dubey as a "gangster," who ambushed and fatally shot eight policemen who were going to arrest him shortly after midnight on July 3 in Bikru village in Chaubeypur area of Kanpur.
Dubey had more than 60 cases pending against him, including murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, arson and rioting, BBC News reported.
Back in 2001, he allegedly killed a state minister at a police station, but after he was arrested he was released on bail, with most other cases following a similar pattern, the British news channel said.
BBC News added that a group of armed man followed Dubey around routinely, witnesses against him often changed their testimonies, and it was said that he had good political connections.
Police encounters have become more common since Yogi Adityanath took power in March 2017 as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. More than 1,000 encounters took place within Adityanath's first year in office. Nearly 50 people were killed and more than 370 were injured in these encounters, which lead to accusations from opposition parties that encounters were fake.
In February of 2018, the National Human Rights Commission, India, issued the following statement after a report that an innocent man, 25-year-old gym instructor Jitendra Yadav, was critically injured in Noida when a sub-inspector of Uttar Pradesh police shot him over encounter that was falsified. The sub-inspector told his colleague the encounter would earn him a promotion, but Noida police denied receiving a message of an encounter.
"It seems that the police personnel in the State of Uttar Pradesh are feeling free, misusing their power in the light of an undeclared endorsement given by the higher-ups," the statement said. "They are using their privileges to settle scores with the people."
Given this background, some former government officials are questioning the police's account.
"Have absolutely no sympathy for Vikas Dubey but why did he surrender to the police if he wanted to escape?" former secretary to the Government of India Anil Swarup posted on Twitter.
"Basic Q in #VikashDubeyEncounter - - high value prisoner must be handcuffed, secured and escorted by large police force," former diplomat and strategic affairs expert K.C. Singh tweeted. "If he broke free, seized weapon (usual story) and ran, doesn't it prove gross lapse? So shouldn't they face suspension/inquiry. If they are lauded what does it mean?"