Lakhimpur Kheri SIT omits minister’s name, includes brother-in-law in charge sheet

Lakhimpur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh): While the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Lakhimpur Kheri violence that filed a 5,000-page charge sheet in the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) has omitted the name of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni — earlier named as conspirator — it has included the name of Virendra Shukla, who is the brother-in-law of the minister.

The SIT has not named the junior home minister in the charge sheet filed on Monday, nor questioned him so far. Sources in the SIT, however, said a supplementary charge sheet will be filed after enough evidence is collected against ‘some more people’.

According to an SIT member, “All those named in the complaint given by the farmers will be questioned. This is the reason why investigation in this case is still not complete.”

Ajay Mishra’s name figures prominently in the complaint by farmers.

Virendra Shukla, who is the block chief from Palia in Kheri district and was identified as the owner of the Scorpio SUV that was part of Ashish’s convoy, has been charged under IPC section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence). He is yet to be arrested and the charge against him is bailable.

Senior prosecution officer S.P. Yadav said, “A charge sheet has been submitted by the SIT against main accused Ashish Mishra and 16 others. Three accused in this case are already dead and, hence, charges were framed against 14 accused. Of these, 13 are in jail, and their judicial custody was converted to trial custody. The next date of hearing in the case is January 10. Shukla has been summoned to appear before court on January 10. He can apply for bail even before this date.”

Yadav further said, “We have requested the court to impound important parts of the case diary under section 173 (6) of the CRPC. Investigation in this case is still underway, and a supplementary charge sheet is expected soon.”

It may be recalled that four farmers and a journalist were allegedly mowed down by Ashish’s convoy on October 3, 2021.

An FIR was initially registered under sections 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting with deadly weapons), 149 (offence committed in prosecution of common object), 279 (rash driving), 338 (causing grievous hurt to any person by doing any act so rashly), 304a (causing death by negligence) and 120b (criminal conspiracy) of IPC.

Three BJP workers, Shyam Sundar Nishad, Shubham Mishra and Hari Om Mishra, who were allegedly lynched by farmers in retaliation were also named as accused in this case.

On December 14, the SIT had submitted in court that the incident was “a premeditated one and not an act of negligence”.

The court later dropped the sections pertaining to ‘accident’ from the FIR and included sections 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt using weapon which is likely to cause death), 34 (criminal acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC, along with sections 3/25, 5/27 and 30 of the Arms Act.

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