Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, was produced before a court late on Saturday night, which sent him to 14-day judicial custody in connection with the October 3 Lakhimpur violence.
After around 12 hours of questioning in connection with the violence in which eight persons including four farmers were killed, a medical team examined Ashish Mishra in the crime branch office after which he was taken for production before a judicial magistrate, who sent him to custody, senior prosecution officer SP Yadav told PTI.
He said an application for police remand of Ashish Mishra was submitted to the judicial magistrate who fixed it for hearing for 11 am on Monday.
Ashish Mishra was named in an FIR following allegations that he was in one of the vehicles that mowed down four farmers protesting over UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit last Sunday.
Farmer leaders and opposition parties had been demanding Mishra’s arrest but the minister and his son had denied the allegations.
Two BJP workers and their driver were allegedly lynched by angry farmers in 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.
Ashish Mishra, who is known as ‘Monu Bhaiya’ in the area, spent the night in the district jail. He had appeared before the SIT at around 10.30 AM on Saturday 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 on Saturday after being grilled by the SIT at the crime branch office in the Police Lines.
Aged around 35, Ashish Mishra looks after the political activities of his father in his Kheri Parliamentary constituency.
The Supreme Court had on Friday questioned the non-arrest of the accused, directed preservation of evidence and mulled transferring the probe to another agency.
Without mincing words, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana had said, the law must take its course against all accused and the government has to take all remedial steps in this regard to inspire confidence in the investigation of the brutal murder of eight persons.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is spearheading the agitation against the Centre’s three farm laws, had alleged that the violence was held under a pre-planned conspiracy and demanded the arrest of the minister and his son.
The farmer unions said if the government does not accept their demands by October 11, they will take out a ‘Shaheed Kisan Yatra’ from Lakhimpur Kheri with the ashes of slain farmers.
The SKM has also given a call for a “rail roko” protest across the country from 10 AM to 4 PM on October 18 and a “mahapanchayat” in Lucknow on October 26.
Ajay Mishra should be “dismissed from the cabinet and arrested on charges of spreading disharmony, murder and conspiracy. He is also protecting the culprits in the case”, SKM leader Yogendra Yadav had alleged during a press conference in Delhi.
A nine-member team headed by the SIT team headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police (Headquarters) Upendra Agarwal has been formed to investigate the FIR lodged against the minister’s son and others in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
After two men were arrested on Thursday in the case, police had put up a notice outside Ashish Mishra’s house asking him to appear before it.