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Supreme Court pulls up Uttar Pradesh Govt on the shoddy investigation in Lakhimpur Kheri incidence


New Delhi, Oct 20 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today pulled up the State of Uttar Pradesh for the manner in which the investigation in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident is being carried out and stated that it gives an impression that the state is dragging its feet.

A bench led by the Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli asked the state of Uttar Pradesh to file another status while stating investigations cannot be an unending story and the state must dispel the view that police is dragging its feet about the investigation. 

Senior Advocate Harish Salve appeared for the State of Uttar Pradesh said we have filed the status report on the incident. Replying to this CJI Ramana said, “We expect this one day before. You have filed it last minute. We have waited till yesterday night, but received nothing.” 

Salve said, “a concern was stated that the State was going soft on the accused, now everybody is arrested and they are in jail. As of today, there are 10 accused inside the jail. There are two crimes which were driving into farmers and the other one in which a person was lynched.”

The Court noted that out of 44 witnesses the statement of only four have been recorded. To which Salve replied there were two cases registered and in relation to FIR 219 they have arrested 10 persons, out of which four are in Police Custody. The bench asked, “what about the other 6, you did not seek custody so they were sent to judicial custody. What is the situation in this case?”

The bench asked why statements under 164 were not recorded? To which Harish Salve said Courts were closed during vacations. Justice Hima Kohli asked are the criminal courts closed during Dussehra vacations? 

AAG Garima Prasad said the crime scene was being reconstructed. 

Justice Surya Kant said Recording of statements under 164 is different! It is before a judicial magistrate. Its evidentiary value is far better. 

Justice Hima Kohli said we feel you are dragging your feet. Please dispel that. 

Salve requested, “list the matter to next week and see where we are at.” 

The Court recorded in its order, “Status report filed has been perused. Senior counsel submits that statements will be recorded under 164, and has sought time to take more instructions. Matter to be taken up next on October 26.” 

The Supreme Court firstly registered it as a suo motu PIL on October 7, 2021. Later, the Court directed the Registry to convert it into a Public Interest Litigation (Writ Petition Criminal). The Court had directed the State of Uttar Pradesh to file its status report. On October 8, when the matter came up for hearing, Senior Advocate Harish Salve appeared for Uttar Pradesh and apprised the Court about the status of the case. 

Earlier also, the Court had pulled up the Uttar Pradesh Police, saying it wasn’t satisfied with the steps taken by the State in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. The Court directed State Police to preserve all the evidence in the case. After that, it had adjourned its hearing till October 20. 

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said, “The highest police officer must protect the evidence in the case. Why wasn’t the accused arrested immediately? Why are they not treated like any other citizen? The local police have not done the job properly.”

On October 9, accused Ashish Mishra was called for interrogation and after long interrogation, the UP Police arrested him and produced him before the Court the next day and he was sent to 14 days of judicial custody. 

On October 11, he was sent to three days police remand after UP Police said it want to interrogate him about a possible “conspiracy” in the violence case.

In this case, two more persons have been arrested by the SIT, one is Ankit Das and another one is Lateef alias Kala and as of now, 6 persons were arrested in nexus with the Lakhimpur Kheri incident case. Both Ankit and Lateef alias Kala was produced before a local court on October 14, 2021, wherein they were handed over to police custody for 3 days.

On October 13, 2021, the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Chinta Ram rejected the bail applications of Ashish Mishra and his alleged accomplice Ashish Pandey. The police have intensified the probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in Uttar Pradesh and sent all four weapons of Ankit Das and Ashish Misra to the forensic lab for a ballistics report./ILNS/KR/SNG/


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