The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the violence at Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 on Tuesday arrested the driver of one of the SUVs that allegedly ran over a group of farmers, killing four of them. Four others including a journalist were killed in violence that ensured after the death of the farmers on that day.
According to police, Shekhar Bharti, a driver from Lucknow, was behind the wheels of an SUV owned by Ankit Das, an aide of Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra.
Besides, two others, Luvkush Pandey and Ashish Pandey, were also arrested.
Ashish was interrogated at the Lakhimpur Kheri Crime Branch Office. The SIT stated that more individuals might be called for interrogation if they come across any conspiracy during the probe.
“We are yet to ascertain the motive behind the incident,” a police officer said.
Ashish was arrested for not cooperating with the probe. His defence lawyer Awadesh Kumar Singh had filed a surrender application on behalf of Ankit Das and a driver identified as Lateef. The court had sought a report from the local police.
The police have sought 14-day custody of Shekhar Bharti after producing him before a local court. The court will hear the petition on Wednesday.
The SIT aims to obtain information on a Mahindra Scorpio SUV, which was part of the convoy. A Mahindra Thar, owned by Ajay Mishra, was leading the convoy. A Fortuner and a Scorpio followed it. According to the police, the Thar and the Fortuner were set on fire after the fatal incident, and those in the Scorpio sped off.
A senior official said, “One of our major concerns at present is to identify the third vehicle and its occupants. The four people arrested did not give any detail about the Scorpio.”
The police are also trying to get statements from those injured in the violence.