Allahabad HC grants bail to Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish Mishra, accused in Lakhimpur Kheri violence

THE Allahabad High Court, on Thursday, granted bail to the Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashish Mishra, the main accused in the killing of protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh last year.

Justice Rajeev Singh observed that it was evident from the First Information Report [FIR] that the role of firing was assigned to Mishra for killing the protesters, but during the course of the investigation, no such firearm injuries were found either on the body of any of the deceased or on the body of any injured person.

“Indubitably, no firearm injury has been found on the body of the deceased or any other person, except the injury of the hitting from the vehicle. Furthermore, in case the story of the prosecution is accepted, thousands of protesters 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”, the order read.

The Judge added “The prosecution alleged that the applicant provoked the driver of the vehicle for crushing the protesters; however, the driver along with two others, who were in the vehicle, had been killed by the protesters. It is further evident that during the course of investigation, notice was issued to the applicant and he appeared before the Investigating Officer. It is also evident that the charge sheet has already been filed. In such circumstances, this Court is of the view that the applicant is entitled to be released on bail”.

Justice Singh added that the Court could not shut its eyes to the killing of three persons sitting in the Thar vehicle, including the driver, who were killed by the protesters.

“The photograph available in the case diary clearly reveals the brutality of the protesters, those were beating the said three persons, namely, Hariom Mishra, Shubham Mishra and Shyam Sunder. It is also relevant to mention here that the Investigating Officer of the Case Crime No. 220 of 2021 came to the conclusion that after the said incident of hitting of the protesters by the Thar vehicle, the protesters chased Shubham Mishra, Hariom Mishra and Shyam Sunder and they were beaten brutally, on account of which, they died. The said conclusion was drawn by the Investigating Officer on the basis of video clip aired by the protesters themselves in relation to the incident, in which, several persons were found beating Shubham Mishra, Hariom Mishra and Shyam Sunder (deceased), out of which, four persons have been identified and charge sheet has been prepared against them, namely, Kulvinder Singh, Karamjeet, Gurpreet Singh and Vichitra Singh. However, rest of the persons could not be identified by the Investigating Officer”, the High Court observed.

Mishra is facing prosecution under Sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), read with 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 30 (punishment for contravention of license or rule) of the Arms Act, and Section 177 (punishment of offences) of the Motor Vehicles Act. As per the prosecution case, Mishra came to the place of the incident at high speed and killed the farmers by conducting indiscriminate firing. He had been arrested on October 9 last year.

Mishra had approached the High Court against the lower court order rejecting his bail application.

In November last year, the Supreme Court, in order to ensure transparency, fairness, and absolute impartiality of the investigation, appointed former judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain to monitor and supervise the ongoing investigation into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

The High Court while granting bail to Mishra, also observed there was a serious dereliction of duty on the part of the District Administration for not taking any action to prevent the protests from taking place, nor any action against the organisers of the protests.

It has directed the Chief Secretary to issue necessary direction and guidelines for regulating such type of assemblies and processions in order to avoid the inconvenience caused to the citizens on account of such types of assemblies.

Click here to read the order

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