NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday said it was prima facie not satisfied with the Uttar Pradesh government’s probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
Retired Allahabad High Court judge Justice Pradeep Kumar Srivastava was named by the state government earlier to enquire into the eruption of violence on Tikonia-Banbirpur road in Lakhimpur Kheri district.
The court’s remarks came after it perused the UP government’s status report in the matter. In accordance with the last order, the state government placed on record the details of the investigation carried out in connection with the lynching incident also.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, in a hearing conducted through video conferencing, suggested to the state government that the monitoring of the ongoing probe be done by a former judge of a “different high court” to infuse “independence, impartiality and fairness”.
“We, somehow or the other, are not confident and we do want any judicial commission appointed by your state government to continue,” said the bench, also comprising justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.
Eight people, including four farmers, two BJP workers, a driver and a journalist, died in the clashes in Lahimpur Kheri on 3 October, following violence after a convoy of three SUVs — including one allegedly owned by Ashish Mishra, son of Union minister of state for home affairs Ajay Mishra.
The bench referred to two FIRs, one pertaining to mowing down of the farmers and the other related to subsequent lynching of BJP activists by the mob, and said that prima facie it appeared that evidence was being procured to the protect the accused in the first case.
“One more thing, we have in mind to ensure that the evidence in FIR no. 219 (farmers’ mowing case) is recorded independently and in FIR no. 220 (lynching case) be also recorded independently and there is no overlapping or inter-mixing the two sets of evidence.
“We are inclined to appoint a former judge of a different high court to monitor the investigation on a day-to-day basis and then see how the separate charge sheets are eventually prepared,” said the bench.
Speaking for the bench, Justice Surya Kant suggested the names of justices Ranjit Singh and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, both former judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and said that they are experienced in the field of criminal law and would oversee the probe of the SIT till filing of the charge sheets in the cases.
The state government has to respond by November 12.
The police have so far arrested 13 accused, including Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra, in connection with the case.




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