The trial court in UP was left with no other option after stringent observations of the apex court as it framed murder and conspiracy charges against Ashish Mishra, union minister Ajay Mishra’s son, and his 13 accomplices for their role in Lakhimpur carnage, writes Mudit Mathur
After failing to get any reprieve from High Court to Supreme Court and almost a year-long dilly dallying on the chargesheet filed before the trial court in early January, Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister of State for Home, Ajay Kumar Mishra faced a major jolt on December 6th, 2022. Finally, the trial court in Uttar Pradesh was left with no other option after stringent observations of the apex court as it framed murder and conspiracy charges against him and his 13 accomplices for their alleged role in the Lakhimpur Kheri carnage and fixed 16 December for production of evidences beginning a regular trial.
The Additional District and Sessions Judge I Sunil Kumar Verma framed charges of murder and various offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act against Mishra and 13 other accused persons. The charges against Mishra and others have been framed under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons), 149 (offence committed in prosecution of common object), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons), 427 (mischief causing damage), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act.
Another accused, Block Pramukh of Palia and brother-in-law of minister, Virendra Shukla, will be tried for causing the disappearance of evidence for hiding Scorpio SUV used in the crime, being part of convoy. 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 charge sheet.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Supreme Court has in its 5000-page long chargesheet vindicated all the allegations against Union Minister’s son, Ashish Mishra Monu and his 13 associates, confirming his presence in the Thar Mahindra jeep and firing gun shots at farmers on 3rd October 2021 in Tikunia area of Lakhimpur Kheri. Now, he has to face trial for murder and well-planned conspiracy. However, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha is not satisfied over sparing the union minister Ajay Mishra Teni from the ambit of probe despite his name appearing in the draft for FIR filed by deceased farmers’ families.
A convoy of three vehicles, including one owned by Union Minister of State for Home, Ajay Mishra Teni, ploughed into a group of protesting farmers killing four farmers and a journalist. In retaliatory ferocity, three accused BJP workers were lynched on the spot of the ghastly massacre as their speeding vehicle overturned just after the incident.
The eyewitness account and video footage of a nearby petrol pump followed with testimonies of 99 witnesses were recorded under section 164 CrPC before the court, and all of them have professedly pointed out the presence and involvement Ashish Mishra at the spot. Testimonies of witnesses were verified through investigation at the spot.
The SIT had earlier submitted in court that the incident was “a planned 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.
SIT investigations also mentioned ballistic findings confirming gunshots on farmers who were returning home from the site of protest over the three farm laws. The CCTV footage from petrol pump also confirmed his presence on the crime spot contradicting the minister’s claims that his son was not present there when the crime occurred.