Lakhimpur Kheri case: In a big development to the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted interim bail for eight weeks to Union Minister’s son Ashish Mishra. Granting interim bail to Mishra, the apex court instructed him not to stay either in Uttar Pradesh or New Delhi during the period.
A bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and JK Maheshwari granted Mishra interim bail, while the petition will be posted next on March 14. The top court also asked him to surrender his passport before the trial court and asked him to enter Uttar Pradesh only to attend the proceedings of the trial court.
Earlier, 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.
Charges against Ashish Mishra
According to the Uttar Pradesh Police FIR, four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in which Ashish Mishra was seated. A journalist had also lost his life in the violence. Following the incident, the driver of the SUV and two BJP workers were allegedly lynched by angry farmers.
On July 26, 2022, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had rejected the bail plea of Ashish Mishra. Following this. he had challenged the high court’s order in the apex court.
During the hearing on January 19, the top court had 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. During the hearing on January 19, the top court had 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. 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.
Trial court farmed charges against Mishra on December 6
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.
(With inputs from agencies)