Until Friday, July 3, Vikas Dubey, was just another name in the underworld of Uttar Pradesh. Despite a list of 60 heinous crimes against him, he surprisingly did not figure in the official list of 10 top criminals of the state.

This alone sufficiently illustrates his influence in the corridors of power that is now being substantiated by many videos where he speaks of his political connections that are now viral on the social media.

It is a matter of investigation as to what went wrong in dynamics of his judiciously cultivated nexus of politics-police-crime that made a low profile criminal with political ambitions indulge in gunning down eight police personnel, including one of deputy superintendent rank, virtually blowing his cover.

Following the ambush of police personnel in Bikru village under Chaubeypur police station of Kanpur Dehat, the Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh government first announced an award of Rs 50,000 on his head that within days was increased five times to Rs 2.5 lakhs.

The case has been handed over to the Special Task Force. Still after four days of hunting, there is no trace of Dubey.

A day after the killings of the eight police personnel the Kanpur administration demolished Dubey’s ancestral house in Bithoor in Kanpur. Dubey’s mother Sarla Devi complained that as her son is guilty the police should have demolished his numerous properties and not the house built by her husband and her father-in-law.

Dubey, in his early fifties, first hit headlines on October 12, 2001 in what can best be described as the fratricidal killing of a BJP minister of state Santosh Shukla inside the Shivli police station in Kanpur when present day defence minister Rajnath Singh was the chief minister.

According to Santosh Shukla’s brother Mukesh Shukla every successive government protected Dubey. “What the police did to cover up his brother’s murder has resulted in what he did to the police personnel last week”.

Mukesh Shukla alleges that Dubey paid money to the police. “Given their deplorable condition money is their weakest point and has landed them in the mess that they find themselves in now”, points out Mukesh.

Recalling the sequence of events Mukesh Shukla said that four months after murdering his brother Dubey had surrendered in court accompanied by several politicians, including those from the BJP.

The message he wanted to send out was loud and clear. There were around 25 police personnel and others who were witness to the murder inside the police station at that time. None testified against him. In an unprecedented development, even the investigating officer turned hostile helping in Dubey’s acquittal in 2005 for want of evidence.

A Kanpur-based lawyer who has since quit his former profession was also a witness of the murder. He still shudders recalling that day: “The criminal-political nexus was so evident that none dared to speak up against him. I preferred to quit the profession and have nothing to do with the world of crime and criminals”, said the former lawyer now in the dyeing business in Kanpur.

Dubey’s acquittal in such a high profile case became the turning point in his career and paved the way for his becoming the Frankenstein that he has evidently become.

After his acquittal, Dubey became a familiar face in the corridors of power. He was often seen lounging in the central hall of the Vidhan Sabha when the assembly was in session.

The increasing need for muscle power in elections ensured that he had many political mentors across parties and access to unbridled power to protect him in his shady businesses including real estate.

He even managed to win the nagar panchayat election. In 2015 his wife Richa Dubey won the Zila Panchayat election from Ghimau under which Bikru village falls, where the eight police personnel were killed.

As his mentors changed their loyalties so did he. From BSP, he switched to SP and now was moving towards the BJP in recent months.

A photograph of a poster in which Dubey is seen campaigning for his wife, Richa Dubey, on the Samajwadi Party banner, has gone viral on the social media.

So is Dubey’s photograph with present day UP law minister, Brijesh Pathak revealing his proximity to the politician who switched loyalties from BSP to BJP on the eve of 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections.

Several undated video interviews of Dubey gives an insight into his political influence and a glimpse of the opportunistic politics of recent years.

In one video, he claims that former UP assembly speaker Hari Krishna Srivastava was his political guru and had initiated him into politics. Srivastava was Speaker in 1990-91 during the Mulayam Singh government.

In another video accessed by the STF Dubey is seen talking about his links with two Kanpur BJP MLAs - Abhijeet Sanga representing Bithoor and Bhagwati Sagar of Bilhaur.

He said that the two leaders had helped him when he faced police action in 2017.

Sanga has vehemently denied having any links with Dubey. Defending himself Sanga claimed to the contrary. “People from my constituency of Bithoor and adjoining villages come to me for help. In several cases I have recommended action against him as he was being supported by other political parties.”

Meanwhile, Bhagwati Sagar described Dubey’s statement as an attempt to malign his image. Both the MLAs have demanded the video to be investigated.

Whichever party was in or out of power evidently in Dubey’s case the criminal- politician-police mutually beneficial relationship appears to have continued uninterrupted for decades,

The question that demands an answer is what had happened in recent times to change this dynamics and bring the once comrade in arms in direct confrontation.