Lakhimpur Kheri violence: Plea in SC for cancellation of bail of Union minister's sontext_fields
New Delhi: A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of bail of accused Ashish Mishra, the son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, who was arrested in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence that killed eight people including four farmers.
An application has been filed by advocates Shiv Kumar Tripathi and CS Panda in the suo motu case registered on a letter petition sought setting aside of the order dated February 10 of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court.
They also sought direction to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Justice (retd) Rakesh Jain and the prosecution and Uttar Pradesh police as to why things are being delayed and to furnish a copy of the report comprising the charge sheet.
The plea said that bail order has "manifest error" as the High Court has rested its reasoning on presumption and guesswork using the word 'might' to arrive at a conclusion that the said crime culminated in a possibility of the driver trying to speed up the vehicle to save himself.
"The said conclusion by the High Court justice is unsustainable in law", it said, adding that the reasoning of the High Court judge suffers from the vices of non-application of judicial mind taking recourse to assumptions without the support of direct evidence.
On February 10, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had granted bail to Ashish Mishra, who had been in custody for the past four months.
On October 3, last year, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri during violence that erupted when farmers were protesting against Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya's visit to the area.
Four farmers were moved down by an SUV. A driver and two BJP workers were then allegedly lynched by angry farmers.
A journalist also died in the violence that triggered outrage among opposition parties and farmer groups agitating over the Centre's now-repealed agri laws.
On November 17, last year, the top court had appointed Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, former judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, to monitor the probe by Uttar Pradesh SIT which will also get three IPS officers who are not natives of the state.
Observing that while investigating such offences, justice must not only be done but also be seen and perceived to be done, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana had ordered reconstitution of the SIT and ordered the induction of IPS officers -- S B Shiradkar, Padmaja Chauhan and Preetinder Singh.
Shiradkar, an IPS officer of the 1993 batch from Maharashtra and presently serving as ADG Intelligence in Uttar Pradesh, will head the SIT, the apex court had said in its order.
Stressing on the need for a fair and just probe, the top court had said that given the nascent stage of the investigation, it was reluctant to make any observation on the merits of the case as that would have an impact on the parties involved and influence the prosecuting agency as well as the courts which would ultimately look into the case.
The UP government had consented to the proposal leading to the appointment of the former judge and the reconstitution of the SIT which has been asked to make all efforts to conclude the investigation expeditiously and file the charge sheet.
Prior to this, the apex court had said it had no confidence and did not want the one-member judicial commission appointed by the UP government to continue the probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.
Retired Allahabad High Court judge Justice Pradeep Kumar Srivastava was named by the state government earlier to enquire into the eruption of violence on Tikonia-Banbirpur road in Lakhimpur Kheri district