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Union Minister's Son, Accused in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri Case, Gets Bail From Allahabad HC

Ashish Mishra (in black) and other accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case being taken to be produced in a court in Lakhimpur, on October 22, 2021. (PTI Photo)

Ashish Mishra (in black) and other accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case being taken to be produced in a court in Lakhimpur, on October 22, 2021. (PTI Photo)

The development comes on a day when voting has begun for phase one of the seven-phase UP assembly elections across 58 constituencies.

Union Minister of State (Home) Ajay Mishra Teni’s son, Ashish Mishra, on Thursday has been granted bail by the Allahabad High Court in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, in which eight people including four farmers were killed.

The development comes on a day when voting has begun for phase one of the seven-phase UP assembly elections across 58 constituencies.

On January 18, the Allahabad High Court had reserved its order on Mishra’s bail plea. The Lucknow bench of the court reserved its order on Mishra’s plea after concluding the hearing through video-conferencing.

The counsel appearing on behalf of Mishra told the court that his client was innocent and there was no evidence against him that he incited the driver of a vehicle to crush the farmers. Opposing the plea, Additional Advocate General VK Shahi said at the time of the incident, Mishra was in the car that crushed the farmers under its wheels.

After hearing the pleas, the bench of Justice Rajeev Singh reserved its order. On October 3, 2021, 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.

Ashish Mishra is the main accused in the incident.

Earlier in January this year, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Lakhimpur Kheri violence that filed a 5,000-page charge sheet in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) had omitted the name of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni — earlier named as conspirator — and included the name of Virendra Shukla, who is the brother-in-law of the minister.

The SIT has not named the junior home minister in the charge sheet filed on Monday, nor questioned him so far. Sources in the SIT, however, said a supplementary charge sheet will be filed after enough evidence is collected against ‘some more people’.

According to an SIT member, “All those named in the complaint given by the farmers will be questioned. This is the reason why investigation in this case is still not complete.”

Ajay Mishra’s name figures prominently in the complaint by farmers.

Virendra Shukla, who is the block chief from Palia in Kheri district and was identified as the owner of the Scorpio SUV that was part of Ashish’s convoy, has been charged under IPC section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence). He is yet to be arrested and the charge against him is bailable.

Senior prosecution officer S.P. Yadav said, “A charge sheet has been submitted by the SIT against main accused Ashish Mishra and 16 others. Three accused in this case are already dead and, hence, charges were framed against 14 accused. Of these, 13 are in jail, and their judicial custody was converted to trial custody. The next date of hearing in the case is January 10. Shukla has been summoned to appear before court on January 10. He can apply for bail even before this date.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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