The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday denied bail to the four prime accused in the October 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.
Justice D.K Singh, while rejecting the bail of Ankit Das, Lavkush, Sumit Jaiswal and Shishupal, observed that the incident might not have occurred if the Union Minister of State for Home did not make alleged utterances threatening farmers to chase them out of the district.
The court said political persons should not make irresponsible statements because they are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with their status and the dignity of the high office they hold.
It also emphasised that lawmakers cannot be seen as lawbreakers, and that it was difficult to believe that the Deputy Chief Minister of the state was unaware that provisions of Section 144 Cr.P.C. were clamped and any assembly or gathering was prohibited.
Notably, the court praised the Special Investigation Team for conducting a free, fair, impartial, and scientific investigation into the crime.
The bench noted that the chargesheet revealed overwhelming evidence against the accused-applicant and co-accused related to the commission of the heinous, diabolic, brutal, barbaric, depraved, gruesome, and inhumane crime.
The court also observed that because the accused-applicant and the main accused, Ashish Mishra, come from very powerful political families, the prosecution’s fear of them interfering with the course of justice, tampering with evidence, and influencing witnesses cannot be ruled out at this stage, and thus, the bail pleas of all four accused have been dismissed.
Ashish Mishra was arrested in the October 3, 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence case in which eight people, including four farmers and a journalist, were killed and several others injured when a convoy of SUVs, including a Thar allegedly owned by his father, had mowed down four farmers.