Guwahati: In a big development in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, the Supreme Court has canceled the bail earlier granted to main accused Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra.
A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice Hima Kohli asked him to surrender within a week.
The top court also remanded the matter back to the high court to consider afresh whether Mishra should be given bail or not after affording the victims’ families a hearing.
On October 3 last year, a convoy of three SUVs, including a Thar owned by Ashish Mishra’s father Union Minister Ajay Mishra, allegedly ran over a group of protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri. Four farmers and a journalist were killed and several others were injured. In the violence that followed, two BJP workers and the driver of the Thar vehicle were killed.
On November 17, 2021, the SC which had taken cognizance of the matter following letter petitions sent to it, had appointed former judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain to monitor the probe by an SIT constituted by Uttar Pradesh.
Following an investigation and chargesheet, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court granted Ashish Mishra bail on February 10, 2022, and said that though he was accused of inciting the driver of a vehicle to run over the protesters, the driver and two co-passengers were also killed allegedly by protesters. Given that there were thousands of protesters, the driver might have speeded up the vehicle to save himself, the court had reasoned. In this context, it also added that the killing of the driver and the co-passengers could not be overlooked.
The kin of some of the victims then approached the Supreme Court contending that they were not heard when Ashish’s bail application was taken up by the HC. They said there were technical problems during the hearing, which was held virtually. The petitioners added that though they applied again, they were denied the opportunity to present their case.