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UP: 8 Others Accused in Lakhimpur Kheri Incident Get Interim Bail, All Accused Now Out Of Jail

Bail granted by Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court raising concern for eyewitnesses and family members of victims
lakhimpur violence.

Lucknow: Weeks after Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni's son Ashish Mishra, who is the main accused of the 2021 Lakhimpur Kheri violence that left eight people dead, was released from Lakhimpur district jail, eight more accused were granted interim bail on Tuesday. With this, all the 13 accused in the case including Ashish Mishra, are now on bail. The bail was granted by the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court.

The eight accused who were granted interim bail are Nandan Singh Bisht, Ankit Das, Latif alias Kale, Satyam Tripathi alias Satya Prakash Tripathi, Shekhar Bharti, Ashish Pandey, Rinkoo Rana, and Sumit Jaiswal. Ankit Das is the nephew of former Union minister Akhilesh Das.

Additional District and Sessions Judge-1 (ADJ) Sunil Kumar Verma on Thursday evening ordered the release of the accused. 

"Learned counsels for the applicants have further submitted that the Apex Court has granted interim bail to the accused of both the sides inasmuch cross FIRs were lodged in the issue in question. Therefore, they have requested that the benefit of the aforesaid order of the Apex Court may be given to the present applicants and they may be enlarged on interim bail on the same terms and conditions, which have been imposed by the Apex Court in the order dated 25.01.2023 in re; Ashish Mishra alias Monu (supra),” stated the High Court order passed by Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan.

The order further stated, “Learned AGA as well as learned counsel for the victim has opposed the aforesaid prayer for interim bail but could not dispute the fact that the Apex Court has granted interim bail to accused persons of both the sides… The interim bail order may be extended or vacated on the next date subject to the orders being passed by the Apex Court.”

The High Court order came after the Supreme Court order of January 25, which granted interim bail for eight weeks to Ashish Mishra and directed him not to stay in Uttar Pradesh or the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi during this period. The Apex court had also granted bail to four farmers, who were accused in the death of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker and the driver.

The Supreme Court had said any attempt made by Ashish Mishra, his family or supporters to influence or threaten the witnesses, directly or indirectly, shall entail cancellation of interim bail.

The bench imposed the same conditions on these eight accused as were mentioned in the order granting bail to Ashish Mishra.

Four farmers and a journalist were killed when a convoy of vehicles, including one belonging to the Minister of State in the Ministry of  Home Affairs Ajay Mishra, ran over them on October 3, 2021. Two BJP workers and the driver of one of the vehicles were also killed in the ensuing violence.

On December 6 last year, the trial court had framed charges against Ashish Mishra and 12 others for the alleged offences of murder, criminal conspiracy and other penal laws in the case of the death of the four protesting farmers, paving the way for the start of the trial.

Commenting over the interim bail to the accused, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) expressed concern for the eyewitnesses and family members of the victims. The continuous release of all accused one by one will greatly intimidate witnesses and jeopardise the trial, the union said. 

"When the key accused got bail, it was obvious that other accused also had to get the bail. It was already suspected when the Supreme Court had said for how long they can be kept in jail. There had already been a perception that they have to be given bail. By this logic, every accused booked under 302 should also be given bail," Gurmeet Singh, an SKM leader in Lakhimpur told NewsClick.

He further added, all accused granted interim bail have terror in the region and they allegedly threatened the eyewitnesses in the past. 

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait told NewsClick, "Despite facing serious charges in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and Special Investigation Team (SIT) had found Ashish Mishra and his aides guilty in the Lakhimpur violence case, all of them were granted bail. The government is rubbing salt in our wounds. What will happen to the victim family members of  farmers when the accused will roam freely? They are a threat to society and should  be kept an eye on."

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