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SC Warns of Bail Violation: Accused in Lakhimpur Kheri Case Attending Political Events

SC Warns of Bail Violation: Accused in Lakhimpur Kheri Case Attending Political Events

On Monday, the Supreme Court emphasized that if Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra and one of the accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, has been physically participating in political gatherings, it would constitute a breach of his bail terms.

Last year, the Supreme Court provided Ashish Mishra with interim bail concerning the "tragic and horrifying incident" of violence that occurred in 2021 in Lakhimpur Kheri, resulting in the loss of eight lives.

The Supreme Court had eased the interim bail restrictions placed on Ashish Mishra by the trial court and had instructed him not to reside in either Uttar Pradesh or Delhi during that period.

The case revolves around an episode of violence that occurred on October 3, 2021, in Tikunia, located in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh, resulting in the tragic deaths of eight individuals, including four farmers.

A bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and PS Narasimha issued this statement following allegations made by advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing one of the victims. Bhushan asserted that Mishra had been participating in political gatherings and distributing tricycles at one such event.

"If he is physically attending, then it is definitely a violation," the bench observed orally.

Bhushan submitted that Mishra has been breaching the bail condition set by the Supreme Court, which stipulated that he can only enter Uttar Pradesh for trial purposes.

"But he has participated in various functions recently, distributing tricycles in Uttar Pradesh. I do not know how this is being allowed. I will file an affidavit and place documents," Bhushan said.

Senior advocate Siddhartha Dave, appearing for Mishra, vehemently opposed the submission, and said, "I am not that foolish to violate liberty like that." The apex court asked Bhushan to file an affidavit substantiating his allegations. However, it did not put anything on record about it in the order passed today.

The Supreme Court also directed the public prosecutor and the district police to take effective measures to ensure the presence of witnesses, thus preventing any wastage of the trial court's time.

In February, the Supreme Court extended the interim bail granted to Ashish Mishra and instructed its registry to procure a report from the trial court regarding the progress of the case.

On September 26 of the previous year, the Supreme Court had eased Mishra's bail conditions to allow him to visit and reside in the National Capital Region (NCR) for the purpose of caring for his ailing mother and seeking medical treatment for his daughter.

The violence in the district had erupted when farmers were protesting against Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya's visit to the area.

Four farmers were tragically struck down by a sports utility vehicle. Subsequently, in the aftermath, it is alleged that an enraged group of farmers lynched a driver and two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers. This violent episode also resulted in the unfortunate death of a journalist, sparking widespread outrage.

On December 6, the trial court formally levied charges against Mishra and 12 co-accused individuals for purported offenses including murder, criminal conspiracy, and violations of other penal laws in relation to the deaths of the farmers. This development paved the way for the commencement of the trial proceedings.

 

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