Lakhimpur Kheri violence: How long can we keep Ashish Mishra in custody, asks Supreme Court

Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV, in which Ashish Mishra was seated, according to the Uttar Pradesh Police FIR.
Ashish Mishra, the key suspect in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. (File Photo | PTI)
Ashish Mishra, the key suspect in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. (File Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the lower court considering the trial of Ashish Mishra, accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and killings case, to apprise the SC of the time required to conclude the trial.

Saying that Mishra was in jail pursuant to his bail being cancelled by the SC in April, a bench of Justices Surya Kant and Krishna Murari said, “How long will he be in jail? Victims have a right, accused have rights and even society has interests. How can we balance all these interests?”

While hearing the bail plea of Mishra, son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni, the bench also directed for the continuation of the protection granted to the witnesses till the completion of the trial. Mishra and 13 others are accused in the Tikunia violence case in which eight persons four farmers, three BJP workers and a local scribe died on October 3 last year.

Mishra is the main accused in the case as the farmers were trampled allegedly by his SUV while they were protesting against the visit of Deputy CM Keshav Maurya in the wake of the three farm laws which the Union government scrapped later.

The bench also asked the additional district and sessions judge hearing the second case, related to the killing of the occupants of the car, to consider the desirability of framing charges. Mishra had approached the SC against Allahabad HC’s order of refusing him bail. He had contended that there was no scope of him “hampering or tampering” with the witnesses or evidence as all of them were being provided security.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said Mishra wasn’t present at the incident spot, and that the FIR was filed by someone who was not an eye witness. Senior advocate Garima Prasad for the state of UP said, “Injured witnesses have stated presence of him (Mishra) at the site. Trial is to commence from December 16.”

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