After days of drama and evasive tactics, Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra was arrested late Saturday night (October 9) after over 11 hours of intense grilling in connection with the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence which sparked outrage all across the country. Later, a court sent him to 14-day judicial custody.
A medical team examined Ashish Mishra at the crime branch office in Lucknow after which he was taken before a judicial magistrate, who sent him to custody, senior prosecution officer SP Yadav told PTI,
The arrest came a day after the Supreme Court expressed dissatisfaction over the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government’s action in the case. Farmer leaders and Opposition parties had been demanding Mishra’s arrest, but the minister and his son kept denying the allegations. Aged 35, Ashish looks after the political activities of his father in his Kheri parliamentary constituency.
DIG Upendra Agarwal, who heads the special investigation team of the Uttar Pradesh Police probing the case, said Ashish refused to cooperate during the interrogation.
“We are taking him in custody on grounds of non-cooperation and evasive replies. He will be produced in court and sustained custodial interrogation will follow,” he said.
Ashish appeared before the SIT at around 10.30 am after a second summons was served to him the previous day when he did not turn up for interrogation. He was arrested at around 11 pm after being grilled by the SIT at the crime branch office in Lucknow.
Amid high security, Ashish is being kept in the interrogation room and will be produced before the court after medical examination, PTI reported.
While his son was facing questioning by the SIT, Ajay Mishra was in his MP’s office in Lakhimpur city with lawyers and later came out to calm his supporters, who had assembled in large numbers outside the house and were shouting slogans in favour of him and his son.
The minister told them that Ashish was innocent and would come out clean. Ashish was named in an FIR following allegations that he was in one of the vehicles which mowed down four farmers who were protesting UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit last Sunday.
Two Bharatiya Janata Party workers and their driver were allegedly lynched by angry farmers after the incident. Local journalist Raman Kashyap also died in the violence, which has triggered a political storm and put the BJP government on the back foot in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.