The chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of Lakhimpur Kheri denied bail to Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish, accused of murdering four farmers and a journalist during a farmers’ protest on October 3. The special investigation team (SIT) probing the violence made two more arrests - Ashish’s friend Ankit Das, who owns the black Fortuner in the three-car convoy that allegedly ran farmers over that day, and a man identified as Lateef, who was reportedly part of the convoy and fired shots in the air.
Ashish Mishra and his aide Ashish Pandey, who were arrested last week, had moved the CJM seeking bail. "We opposed their applications. They were denied bail by chief judicial magistrate Chinta Ram," special prosecution officer S P Yadav said. SIT officials said they are "gathering evidence and arresting people on the basis of what comes up". They questioned Ashish over the day but he was not taken to the site of the killings. At one point, he was questioned along with Das, who had moved a surrender application before the CJM but turned himself in to the SIT. The SIT had said it was "looking for" Das, a Lucknow-based contractor who is former Congress MP Akhilesh Das’s nephew and said to be working closely with BJP now. Arrested with Das was Lateef, a resident of Sardhan in Kheri, who had also filed a surrender plea.
"Das and Lateef were arrested and produced before the court. They were sent to14-day judicial custody. The judge heard our application seeking their remand and granted three days," Yadav said. The SIT also produced Shekhar Bharti, the other suspect the investigating team had said it was "on the trail of", and got a three-day remand custody of him as well.
BJP man snatched from cops, killed: MoS
Junior Union home minister Ajay Mishra at a prayer meeting in Singha Khurd village for three BJP workers who had died during the Lakhimpur Kheri violence that “the death of the three men is unfortunate and the way the incident took place in the presence of officials shows the negligence of both police and the administration”.
Mishra, who is himself an accused in an FIR registered by farmers, added, “Farmers were allowed to take over a road and then the route was not barricaded by police. Shyam Sundar Nishad, one of the workers, was alive with police and had reached an ambulance but was dragged out and killed. The guilty cops will not be spared and the government will conduct a probe against them. The government has given a free hand to the investigating agency”.