The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday granted interim bail to Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni and accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and killings case. A bench of Justices Surya Kant and J K Maheshwari pronounced the order. The bench directed Ashish Mishra to leave Uttar Pradesh within a week of his release and also asked him not stay in NCT-Delhi.
The bench had, earlier on January 19, reserved its order on Mishra’s bail application. On October 3, 2021, eight people were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri district’s Tikunia where violence had erupted when farmers were protesting the then Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit to the area.
The Supreme Court granted interim bail for eight weeks to Ashish Mishra with conditions. The top court directed Ashish Mishra to inform the concerned court about his location. The court also clarified that any attempt by Ashish Mishra or his family to influence witnesses and try to delay the trial may lead to cancellation of his bail.
According to the Uttar Pradesh Police FIR, four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in which Ashish Mishra was seated. Following the incident, the driver of the SUV and two BJP workers were allegedly lynched by angry farmers. A journalist also died in the violence.
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had on July 26 last year rejected the bail plea of Ashish Mishra.
He has challenged the high court’s order in the apex court.
During the hearing on January 19, the top court observed that an accused should not be incarcerated for an indefinite period unless proven guilty of an offence.
While reserving its order on the plea, the bench had said it is a case of balancing the rights of the parties.
Opposing the bail plea, Additional Advocate General for Uttar Pradesh Garima Prashad had said it was a grave and heinous crime and granting bail will send a wrong signal to society.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for those opposing the bail plea, had said enlarging Mishra on bail will send a terrible message to society.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ashish Mishra, had strongly opposed Dave’s submission and said his client has been in custody for more than a year, and the way the trial is proceeding it will take seven to eight years to complete it. On December 6 last year, the trial court had framed charges against Ashish Mishra and 12 others for the alleged offences of murder, criminal conspiracy, and other penal laws in the case of the death of the four protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri, paving the way for the start of the trial.
A total of 13 accused, including Ashish Mishra, have been charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 147 and 148 related to rioting, 149 (unlawful assembly), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 427 (mischief) and 120B (punishment for criminal conspiracy), and section 177 of the Motor Vehicle Act.
The other 12 accused are Ankit Das, Nandan Singh Bisht, Latif Kale, Satyam alias Satya Prakash Tripathi, Shekhar Bharti, Sumit Jaiswal, Ashish Pandey, Lavkush Rana, Shishu Pal, Ullas Kumar alias Mohit Trivedi, Rinku Rana, and Dharmendra Banjara. All of them are in jail.
(With PTI inputs)
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