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Yogi’s three-member team investigating Dubey’s encounter has an officer himself accused of a fake encounter

DIG Ravinder Ghoud, who is already charge-sheeted by CBI for a fake encounter, 13 years ago in UP’s Bareilly, now probing the killing of the gangster Vikas Dubey.

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On July 13, 2020, just a day after the extra-judicial killing of the notorious gangster Vikas Dubey, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been formed by UP government to probe the matter after the nationwide stir with certain sections scrutinizing the death and alleging that it was a “staged-encounter”, which certainly had all the dubious ingredients of a C-grade Indian movie.

The holes in the police version of the blatant encounter were too many — his shifting from one vehicle to another while being taken from Ujjain to Kanpur; the mysterious overturning of his vehicle on a smooth road; the delaying at a check-post of journalists following the police vehicles, and, finally, a dangerous criminal, whose gang had only recently ambushed and murdered eight policemen, being transported without handcuffs?

Had Vikas Dubey been allowed to remain alive, give testimony to the police, and undergo a judicial trial, God alone knows how many politicians he would have taken down with him; not to mention a top police officer or two. Dubey’s confession could have brought within the ambit of the law so many other criminals — in politics, police, bureaucracy and who knows where else.

Is that why a notorious criminal, particularly in a State such as Uttar Pradesh, known for the nexus between crime and politics, cannot be allowed to reach a court for prolonged judicial trial? The alleged “staged-encounter” of the UP’s gangster is much more than a sordid saga of police high-handedness because when the police really want to catch a criminal, they do. Period. So, the adage “Dead men tell no tales” suited everyone, when we saw all around a sigh of relief, and even jubilation at the killing of the gangster in a blatant encounter.

Interestingly enough, how serious the Yogi government in UP is about getting behind the truth in the encounter of Dubey can be seen from the composition of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) announced to probe this encounter.

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DIG Ravinder Ghoud, who is himself already charge-sheeted by the CBI for a fake encounter 13 years ago in Bareilly, along with additional secretary Sanjay Bhoosreddy and additional DG of UP Police Hariram Sharma, is part of the SIT which has been formed by Yogi Adityanath government to investigate the encounter of the gangster.

File photo of DIG J. Ravinder Goud (third from left). (Pic source: The Wire)

The Allahabad high court ordered a CBI probe into the 2007 encounter in which a young medicine trader, Mukul Gupta, was gunned down and when his father Brajendra Gupta had asked for a CBI probe, he along with his wife were also found dead in their home in a suspicious manner.

Later in 2014, the CBI probe found Mukul’s death to be a fake encounter and charge-sheeted nine police officers including IPS officer J Ravinder Goud. 

Though the CBI charge-sheeted Goud, the then ruling Samajwadi Party denied permission to prosecute him and the present one, continues to protect him.

Had the issue not been raised in the column of a local afternoon daily 4 PM, by its editor Sanjay Sharma who had been reporting on Mukul Gupta’s encounter in those days, Goud’s questionable inclusion in the SIT would have gone unnoticed, reported senior UP journalist, Sharat Pradhan, in an article published by The Wire. So, a brief spark of hope that was left is now dead in a flash.

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Long ago, in 1993, the Government of India had appointed Vohra Committee to examine the activities of crime syndicates and mafia organizations which had developed links with and were being protected by government functionaries and political personalities. The Committee, in its Report, brought out that “the network of the mafia is virtually running a parallel government, pushing the state apparatus into irrelevance”. There was discussion in Parliament on the subject, but unfortunately, there was hardly any follow-up action.

In the present UP Assembly, according to the Association of Democratic Reforms, there are 36% MLAs have declared criminal cases against them and there are 26% MLAs who have serious criminal cases including that of murder against them. No wonder, many of these MLAs would be patronizing and extending protection to local goons.

The nexus between criminals, politicians, and government functionaries has, over the years, assumed very dangerous proportions. The Kanpur incident is an unfortunate manifestation and result of that nexus, says Prakash Singh, former Director-General of Police who has had a long inning in Uttar Pradesh and is well known as the key initiator for Police reforms in India. 

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