Lakhimpur Kheri Case: Minister's Son Ashish Mishra Granted Bail by Allahabad HC
Ashish Mishra has been in jail since 10 October.
The Allahabad High Court on Thursday, 10 February, granted bail to Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son Ashish Mishra, the prime accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, which had led to the deaths of four farmers.
Mishra had been in jail since 10 October.
Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri in October 2021, after being run over by a convoy of cars. Ashish Mishra, whose car was part of the convoy, had been arrested on murder charges.
Justice Rajeev Singh, on Thursday, pronounced the order and granted bail to Ashish Mishra.
"It is evident that as per the FIR, the role of firing was assigned to the applicant (Ashish Mishra) for killing the protesters, but during the course of the investigation, no such firearm injuries were found either on the body of any of the deceased or on the body of any injured person," Justice Singh said in the order.
"Thereafter, the prosecution alleged that the applicant provoked the driver of the vehicle for crushing the protesters, however, the driver along with two others, who were in the vehicle, had been killed by the protesters. It is further evident that during the course of the investigation, notice was issued to the applicant and he appeared before the Investigating Officer. It is also evident that the charge sheet has already been filed. In such circumstances, this Court is of the view that the applicant is entitled to be released on bail," Justice Singh further said.
Justice Rajeev Singh then granted bail to Mishra on his furnishing a personal bond and two reliable sureties, each of the same amount, to the satisfaction of the court.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Uttar Pradesh Police, which has been probing the Lakhimpur Kheri violence from October 2021, had filed a charge sheet in January against the 14 accused in the case. The charge sheet spans approximately 5,000 pages.
The incident was a pre-planned conspiracy, and was not merely an act of negligence, an SIT report said.
Ashish Mishra had moved the Allahabad High Court after his bail plea was rejected by the lower court. Justice Rajiv Singh's bench had heard his plea on 18 January and reserved its order which was announced on Thursday, ABP reported.
Meanwhile, a second charge sheet was filed against seven farmers over the death of two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and a driver during the violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri.
The farmers named in the second charge sheet have been arrested although it is not clear whether all of them have been charged with murder.
The second case was filed after a complaint by a local BJP worker Sumit Jaiswal who had accused the farmers of instigating the violence, a claim that the farmers have strongly refuted.
What Had Happened
On 3 October 2021, protesting farmers had gathered in Tikunia to register their protests against the three farm laws ahead of an event where UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya was to be the chief guest.
Thousands of protesting farmers had occupied the helipad at Maharaja Agrasen Sports Ground, where the Deputy CM's helicopter was initially supposed to land. Due to the gathering, Maurya changed his plans and reached Lakhimpur at noon by road instead.
As per reports, Ashish Mishra reached the site to receive the deputy CM where farmers had gathered to protest when clashes erupted. After Mishra's car allegedly ran over four farmers, dozens of protestors set fire to two vehicles that injured farmers.
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