Kheri, 15/2:Over four months after he was arrested on charges of killing four farmers by running them over with his vehicle at Lakhimpur Kheri, Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra was on Tuesday released from jail.
Though Mishra, who was the main accused in the killing of the farmers, had been granted bail on Thursday by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court, his release was delayed as some sections of the IPC under which he was charged had not been mentioned in the bail order. The order was corrected on Monday.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said that his outfit would challenge the decision to grant bail to Mishra in the Supreme Court.
The BKU had earlier said that the police had weakened the case against Mishra under ‘pressure’ from the higher authorities. ”There was considerable pressure on the police,” said a BKU leader.
The release of Mishra whose father Ajay Mishra was an MP from Lakhimpur Kheri, comes barely a week before the region goes to polls in the fourth phase of polling in the state.
While granting bail to Mishra, the court had said that no firearm injury had been found on the body of the deceased or any other person, except the injury from the hitting from the vehicle. It had also said that since thousands of protesters had gathered at the place of incident and there might be a possibility that the driver tried to speed up the vehicle to save himself, on account of which the incident had taken place.
Mishra was arrested by the special investigation team (SIT) probing the incident after his marathon grilling for over eleven hours a few days after the incident.
In its charge sheet filed in the district court, the SIT made Ashish Mishra a key accused and stated that the violence was part of a ‘pre-planned conspiracy’ and that the accused persons had perpetrated the crime deliberately and invoked sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons), 120B (Criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and some others in the case.
Eight people, including four farmers and a local scribe, were killed in the violence at Tikonia in the district in October when hundreds of farmers held protests against Ajay Mishra over the latter’s remarks threatening them of dire consequences if they continued to oppose the farm laws.
While both Ashish and his father had claimed that the former was not present in any of the vehicles, one of which ran over a crowd of farmers killing four of them, the farmers claimed that the minister’s son was in one of the SUVs with a friend of his.
The incident had triggered nationwide outrage and the opposition parties had demanded sacking of Ajay Mishra from the union cabinet. The BJP government, however, rejected the demand for sacking apparently fearing a backlash from the Brahmin community in the assembly polls in UP.