LUCKNOW: Ashish Mishra, the prime accused of Lakhimpur Kheri violence and son of junior Union Home Minister Ajay Mishra, was sent to three-day police remand from October 12-15 with conditions after a virtual hearing by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) in Lakhimpur on Monday.
According to prosecution advocate, SP Yadav, the court sent Ashish Mishra to only three-day police remand whereas the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had demanded a 14-day remand of the accused of his custodial interrogation.
The remand petition of the SIT was heard by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Chinta Ram as Ashish was produced before him through a video link from district jail.
Ashish Mishra was sent to 14-day judicial custody by a local court after he was arrested late on Saturday night.
According to advocate SP Yadav, the three conditions laid by the CJM court as per the Supreme Court guidelines before giving Ashish into police remand included his medical check-up every time taken out for interrogation by the SIT, no torture or coercion by the cops during interrogation, and also permission to his advocate to watch him from a distance during interrogation in order to avoid any interference in questioning.
Earlier on Saturday, Ashish Mishra was grilled for around 12 hours in connection with the violence in which eight persons including four farmers were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3.
Two other accused Luvkush and Ashish Pandey, known to be close aides of Ashish Mishra, were arrested on Thursday.
While representing the SIT, the prosecution claimed that Ashish Mishra was questioned for only 12 hours on Saturday during which he did not give all the answers to the satisfaction of the interrogators. Ashish’s advocate Avdhesh Dubey opposed this submission of the prosecution saying that his client had already answered all the questions posed to him on Saturday. The defence lawyer also asked the prosecution through the court that if the SIT wanted to torture his client and use coercive methods to make him admit the crime as it was seeking a 14-day remand.
Meanwhile, a forensic team has already been dispatched to Lakhimpur Kheri for recreating the crime scene and assisting Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by DIG Upendra Agarwal in investigations into violence, which claimed eight lives.
Sources privy to the probe said forensic examination of the crime scene and videos of the entire episode will be undertaken to ascertain the location of key accused Ashish Mishra. “While the incident took place around 3:15 pm, the video furnished by the accused in his defence claiming that he was at a wrestling match is of around 4 pm.
His whereabouts from 3 pm to 4 pm are under scanner,” said a source. The local police and the SIT have also collected some of the CCTVs which are being scanned by the experts. Police are checking CCTVs at the wrestling venue and en route to the incident spot to cross-check these claims of Ashish who had furnished sworn affidavits of about 10 villagers and over a dozen videos in a pen drive claiming his presence in the village throughout the incident.
“He will be confronted with all the evidence collected and also the statements of the witnesses during the remand,” said a source. The cartridges recovered from one of the SUVs which mowed down the farmers were also sent for a forensic examination. SIT team on Sunday also visited a petrol pump where allegedly the minister’s son had come in his vehicle for refueling. The distance between the spot, the wrestling arena was also noted by the police team. More so, the main complaint in the cross FIR against the farmers, BJP worker Sumit Jaiswal, has gone missing. Jaiswal was present in the Thar vehicle that ran over the four farmers.
A senior UP Police official said that a reward may soon be announced for nabbing Jaiswal and the son of a former Congress minister who was said to be present in the Fortuner vehicle that was behind the Thar vehicle.