No evidence of wrongdoing on part of UP police in encounter of gangster Vikas Dubey:SC panel

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New Delhi/Lucknow, Apr 21 (PTI) A three-member inquiry commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice B S Chauhan has found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Uttar Pradesh police in the encounter killings of gangster Vikas Dubey and his five associates in July last year, sources said on Wednesday.

The other two members of the inquiry commission were – former high court judge Justice (retd) Shashi Kant Agarwal and retired Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh K L Gupta and the panel was to submit its report within two months.

One of the informed sources told PTI that 'no evidence has been found or brought before the commission to establish that Uttar Pradesh police officials were involved in wrongdoings'.

No media persons, especially electronic media journalists who were chasing police van carrying Dubey from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, on the day of encounter appeared to depose before the commission, Pranshu Agrawal, the counsel assisting the panel on behalf of State government, said.

Richa Dubey, the wife of slain gangster, and other public witnesses did not appear to depose before the panel despite public notices being published in newspapers, he said.

'Suspicion cannot replace the hard evidence,' Agrawal further said.

The report is likely to be submitted to the apex court soon.

The panel submitted its report to the state government on Monday, eight months after it was set up.

'Yes the commission has submitted its report to the state government on Monday. A copy of the report will be submitted in the Supreme court also,' Gupta told PTI.

He, however, did not elaborate on the contents of the report.

Asked about it, Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Awanish Kumar Awasthi said, 'I would not like to comment on it.' According to the sources, the inquiry commission has found no evidence of wrongdoing by the state police.

Speaking to PTI, a senior police official said, 'No witnesses came forward to challenge the police claims even after advertisements in newspapers and media. Also, no one from the media came forward to get their versions recorded.' There were, however, witnesses supporting the police version, he added.

Earlier while paving way for the inquiry, the top court had directed the Centre to provide secretarial assistance to the inquiry committee and said that assistance be provided either by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) or any other central agency.

The bench had said the inquiry commission will submit its report to the apex court as well the state government under the Commission of Inquiry Act.

The apex court had said scope of investigation to be conducted by the inquiry commission should be wide enough and it was not in favour of “tying the hands” of the panel.

It had said the commission will have to inquire into incidents of killing of eight policemen and subsequent encounters killings of Dubey and his alleged associates.

The apex court was hearing a batch of petitions which have sought court-monitored probe into the encounters of Dubey and five of his alleged associates.

Some of the pleas have also sought probe into the killing of eight policemen, including DSP Devendra Mishra, who were ambushed in Bikru village in Chaubeypur area of Kanpur when they were going to arrest Dubey and fell to bullets fired from rooftops shortly after midnight on July 3.

Dubey was killed in an encounter in the morning of July 10 when a police vehicle carrying him from Ujjain to Kanpur met with an accident and he tried to escape from the spot in Bhauti area, the police had said.

Prior to Dubey's encounter, five of his alleged associated were killed in separate encounters.

The top court, on July 22, 2020, had approved Uttar Pradesh government's draft notification to appoint Justice (retd) Chauhan as chairman of the 3-member inquiry commission to probe killings of eight policemen and the subsequent encounter killings of Dubey and his associates. PTI SJK ABN PKS RKS RKS