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“People Involved”: Supreme Court On No CBI Probe On Farmers’ Deaths

Supreme Court to hear next on Lakhimpur Kheri on October 20

New Delhi:

Hearing a PIL or PIL on Sunday’s violence and the death of eight people, the Supreme Court on Friday said that the CBI probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri incident “is not a solution… because of the persons (involved)”. In which four farmers are involved.

Chief Justice NV Ramana told senior advocate Harish Salve, “The CBI is not a solution, because you know… because of individuals… it would be better if someone else looks into it.”

The court’s observation was in response to one of the petitions’ requests – that the Lakhimpur Kheri incident be investigated by a central agency.

“Has the state (Uttar Pradesh) made any request to hand it over to the CBI?” The court asked Mr. Salve, to which he replied: “The state has not made such a request… completely in your sway… If you are not satisfied with the investigation, hand it over to the CBI.”

The CJI replied, “Mr. Salve, we respect you. We are hopeful that the state will take necessary steps because of the sensitive issue. We are not commenting (but) CBI is not a solution.”

The reluctance of the top court to hand over the case to the CBI can be seen as a concern over the agency’s ability to conduct an impartial probe, given that the Union minister’s son is one of them.

Violence erupted in Lakhimpur Kheri this weekend, when a convoy of cars – at least one of Union minister Ajay Mishra – rammed into a group of protesting farmers.

Four farmers were killed in this accident and four others including a journalist and a BJP worker were killed and two vehicles caught fire.

The farmers have alleged that the main car – an SUV – was driven by the minister’s son Ashish, who has been charged with murder, but is yet to be arrested.

Ashish Mishra was summoned for questioning today, nearly a week after the incident and after the Supreme Court interrogated the UP government and the police.

However, he dropped the summons while waiting for a senior UP Police officer.

Senior UP police officials have told NB that there is no question of anyone being spared. ADGP Prashant Kumar said, “The technical evidence is permanent. It cannot be tampered with…”

Both Ashish Mishra and his father have denied all the allegations. Mr Mishra told NB that the car belonged to his family, but neither he nor his son was in it at the time of the incident.

There has also been a demand to resign from Ajay Mishra. Mr Mishra met his boss, Union Home Minister Amit Shah this week, after government sources denied him stepping down.

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