Vikas Dubey was a resident of Bikaru,Kanpur Dehat District Chaubepur block, Uttar Pradesh. In his youth, he formed his own gang. He was responsible for numerous criminal activities, including murder and "land grabbing". Dubey soon became one of the most wanted criminals in Kanpur. The first case against him was lodged in 1990 for murder. Soon after, he associated himself as a close aide of the politician Harikishan Srivastava. Srivastava was then a part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the mid-1990s. Dubey also joined the BSP in 1995-96 and won elections at the district level, by allegedly employing force. His wife, Richa Dubey, has also won elections of local bodies. Dubey was the primary accused in the 2001 killing of BJP leader Santosh Shukla, who was then a minister of state, inside the Shivli police station. He had previously been arrested but was later acquitted due to alleged political influence. He was known to go by the name Vikas Pandit, naming himself after the titular character of the 1999 film Arjun Pandit. He was known to be alternatively referred to by this name, or simply as Pandit.