Violence in Lakhimpur Kheri: Police investigators seek more evidence

Police investigators investigating the Lakhimpur Kheri case on Sunday visited a gas station on the Tikunia-Banbirpur road, which is believed to be equipped with CCTV cameras and is near the site of the violence, to gather more evidence. The police team’s visit came a day before a local court in Lakhimpur Kheri district heard the police plea demanding the pre-trial detention of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son, Ashish Mishra, Monday,

Ashish Mishra was arrested on Saturday evening after which a local court sent him into judicial custody for 14 days.

A police official familiar with the investigation said the nine-member investigating committee headed by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Upendra Agarwal attempted to establish the sequence of events related to the violence in Lakhimpur and check the statements obtained so far on the basis of visuals. CCTV cameras installed at the pump.

He added that the investigation team had also visited Banbirpur, the minister’s native village, and recorded the statements of several people there.

UP (ADG) Police Supplementary Director General, Law and Order, Prashant Kumar, said on Sunday that Lakhimpur police had requested the pre-trial detention of the main defendant Ashish Mishra for further questioning about the incident. He said the local court would hear the police request for pre-trial detention on Monday. Ashish Mishra was arrested on Saturday after failing to give satisfactory answers to questions, he said.

Another police official said Mishra had not clarified his location and presence at the scene when violence allegedly erupted after his vehicle mowed down four farmers on October 3. He stated that Ashish Mishra submitted several videos and affidavits about his presence in the village, but did not give satisfactory answers on his whereabouts between a certain period – 2:36 p.m. and 3:40 p.m. He said Ashish Mishra’s cell phone was seized and the video recording of the entire process was done by the investigation committee.

Mishra was arrested after several hours of questioning at the Criminal Police Bureau in the Reserve Police Lines at district headquarters on Saturday.

After the main defendant was sent into judicial custody for 14 days, District Jail Superintendent PP Singh said Ashish Mishra was being held in Quarantine Barracks No. 21, designated for new detainees. He said that Ashish Mishra was given all the facilities that are allowed to every prisoner.

Earlier Thursday, ADG Kumar said police had identified six people as accused, including three who died in the violence, the two men arrested on Thursday and Ashish Mishra. Another accused was not identified. Two of the defendants, Luv Kush and Ashish Pandey, were arrested and sent to jail on Thursday.

Later, people familiar with the issue said the names of two other people – the nephew of former Union Minister Akhilesh Das, Ankit Das and a certain Sumit Jaiswal – also surfaced during the investigation. They said police were raiding in search of the duo. They said the duo were accompanying Ashish Mishra in an SUV during the incident on October 3.

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