In the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, the Supreme Court gives Ashish Mishra provisional release for eight weeks

In the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, the Supreme Court gives Ashish Mishra provisional release for eight weeks

Ashish Mishra, the son of Union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra, who is accused of murdering farmers by driving them over with his automobile in Lakhimpur Kheri during the 2021 farmers' protest, was granted interim release on Wednesday for a period of eight weeks.

Ashish Mishra was directed to leave Uttar Pradesh within a week of his parole by a bench chaired by Justice Surya Kant, who had reserved its decision on Mishra's bail request on January 19.

The Bench said that he was not permitted to remain in the NCT or UP of Delhi and that he was required to report his whereabouts to the trial court and sign up for attendance at the local police station.

The top court warned that any effort by Mishra or his family to persuade witnesses will result in the revocation of bail.

It said that if it were shown that he was attempting to prolong the trial, it would be a legitimate reason to revoke his temporary release.

Additionally, it exercised its suo motu authority to grant temporary bail to the other four co-accused.

It scheduled the case for March 14 while awaiting the trial court's report on the progress of the witnesses being questioned. The highest court will choose whether to prolong his bail after reviewing his behavior.

The Bench had said on January 19 that there shouldn't be indefinite detention and that it may take five years for the trial to be finished.

On October 3, 2021, during a protest against Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya's visit to Uttar Pradesh, four farmers were struck and killed by an SUV in Lakhimpur Kheri. Two BJP employees, a driver, and a journalist were all slain in the ensuing violence. Ashish was allegedly seated in one of the vehicles.

On December 6, a Lakhimpur Kheri court filed accusations for murder, criminal conspiracy, and other offenses against Ashish Mishra and 12 others. The 14th accused, Virendra Shukla, who is out on bail, has been charged with causing the removal of evidence in accordance with Section 201 of the IPC.

Mishra's request for bail was rejected by Additional Advocate General Garima Prashad on behalf of the Uttar Pradesh government because she believed the offence was serious. "Granting bail would send the incorrect signal to society, since it is a serious and horrible crime," she added.

Senior attorney Dushyant Dave, who was defending a few of the victims, had passionately opposed the main accused's request for release because he believed it would send a bad message to the rest of society.

Dave had said, "I will demonstrate from the charge sheet... He is the son of a prominent guy being represented by a strong lawyer. It is a conspiracy and a well-planned murder."

Senior attorney Mukul Rohatgi has refuted Dave's claims on behalf of Mishra. He had questioned, "What is this? Who is powerful? We are showing up every day. Can this be a requirement not to issue bail?"

Ashish Mishra had no criminal history, had been detained for more than a year, and the trial would probably last seven to eight years, according to Rohatgi's argument. The complainant was not an eyewitness, and the accusation was based on hearsay, he had stated, adding, "My client received bail in the first instance. This is not a cock and bull narrative, and there is truth in my account."

The Supreme Court had on December 12 questioned the length of time Ashish Mishra might be held in custody, maintaining that a balance must be found between the rights of the victims and those of the accused.

Given that there were 208 prosecution witnesses, 171 documents, and 27 forensic science laboratory reports to be scrutinized, the sessions judge who was presiding over the trial had previously informed the top court that it may take five years on average to complete the trial.