Lakhimpur Kheri case: Supreme Court cancels bail granted to Ashish Mishra

NEW DELHI: In a major development, the Supreme Court on Monday set aside the Allahabad High Court order which granted bail to Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son  Ashish Mishra in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case and also directed him to surrender within a week, reported ANI.

Ashish Mishra was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court on February 10. This was challenged by the families of farmers who were killed on October 3 at Lakhimpur Kheri in UP.

Pronouncing its order,  a top court bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said, “The High Court order is based on irrelevant observations.” The Supreme Court bench also directed the Allahabad High Court to hear the matter afresh, reported ANI.

The top court had on April 4 reserved its order on a plea of farmers seeking cancellation of bail to Ashish Mishra. The apex court had earlier raised questions over the Allahabad High Court verdict granting bail to Ashish Mishra.

The special bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, had also taken strong note of the fact that the state government did not file an appeal against the high court’s order as suggested by the apex court-appointed SIT.

The bench had taken note of the submissions of senior advocate Dushyant Dave and Prashant Bhushan, appearing for farmers, that the high court did not consider the extensive charge sheet and rather relied upon the FIR where it was alleged that one person received bullet injuries.

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for the state, had said that the accused was not a flight risk and has no criminal record. The bail was granted after the high court took note of the facts including the postmortem report which did not indicate bullet injuries of the deceased.

On March 16, the top court had sought responses of the Uttar Pradesh government and Ashish Mishra, on a plea challenging the grant of bail to him. It had also directed the state government to ensure the protection of witnesses after the counsel, appearing for farmers, referred to the attack on a key witness on March 10.

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 mowed down by an SUV, in which Ashish Mishra was seated, according to the Uttar Pradesh Police FIR. Following the incident, the driver and two BJP workers were 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 agricultural reform laws.

(With Agency Inputs)

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