Lucknow: Six days after the Lakhimpur violence that killed eight people, including four farmers, prime accused Ashish Mishra, son of Union home minister for state Ajay Mishra, has been arrested. Before his arrest, the Special Investigation Team quizzed him for nearly eleven hours.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Upendra Agarwal informed the media that the accused was not cooperating in the investigation; rather, he was giving misleading answers. The DIG said that Ashish Mishra would be produced in a night court and the police might seek his remand for further interrogation. Earlier, on Saturday morning, Ashish appeared before the SIT after a second summon was served on him, after he failed to turn up for the interrogation.
The Supreme Court, while hearing this case on Friday, had frowned at the state government’s inaction in the case.
In another development, the police conducted raids at few places in Lucknow on Saturday in search of Ankit Das who owned the other vehicle that allegedly also knocked ran over farmers on the day of the incident. Ankit is the nephew of a former politician.
According to officials at Lakhimpur, Ashish Mishra carried several pen drives and videos to the police station to prove that he was not present at the crime spot and instead attending a function nearby. However, he could not provide exact information about his presence between 2.30 pm and 3.30 pm on October 4, when the mowing down happened. Mishra was quizzed in front of two of his legal aides and a magistrate. The magistrate was specially called to record the statements. Two of the accomplices of Ashish were arrested on Thursday.
A large number of supporters of the minister had gathered at his residence and BJP office in Lakhimpur and shouted slogans in favour of the accused. The minister, Ajay Mishra, once again said that his son was innocent and not present when the incident took place. Sensing trouble, the district administration had made elaborate security arrangements at all these places. In the evening, the security forces took out a flag march in the city; internet services in the area were disconnected yet again. The SIT members asked Ashish 32 questions and examined the videos produced by him.
Meanwhile, the joint front of farmers has demanded that the Union minister should be dismissed and be arrested on the charges of spreading disharmony.