Monday, October 3, 2022

Lakhimpur Kheri violence: Supreme Court names retired HC judge Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain as head of one-man commission

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday has constituted the one-man commission which will be led by former Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to oversee the Uttar Pradesh’s Special Investigation Team probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.

The bench, led by Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana, ordered the commission for the scrutiny of evidence collected in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, where Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish Mishra is the prime accused. On October 3, Ashish Mishra is said to have mowed down farmers and a journalist by his jeep, leading to four deaths which rose to eight after violence broke out between protesting farmers and Mishra’s men.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had expressed its disappointment over the way the probe was proceeding in the said case and said that it would appoint a retired judge from a different high court to monitor the investigation till a chargesheet is filed.

“The highest police officer must protect the evidence in the case. Why wasn’t the accused arrested immediately? Why are they not treated like any other citizen? The local police has not done the job properly.” Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana said so while rebuking Uttar Pradesh police on a previous occasion.

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On previous hearing, the Lakhimpur Kheri district and sessions court on November 15 rejected the bail pleas of Ashish Mishra, Luv Kush Rana and Ashish Pandey in the said case.

Sessions Court Judge Mukesh Mishra stated in the order that the investigation is still on in the incident of mowing down of farmers by a vehicle and so the court did not find any genuine reason to release the key accused on bail.

The prosecution presented the case diary, 60 eyewitnesses’ statements, and ballistic reports of four firearms to establish their involvement in the crime. Previously, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Uttar Pradesh Police, saying it wasn’t satisfied with the steps taken by the State in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. The Court directed State Police to preserve all the evidence in the case.

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