Lakhimpur violence probe not up to expectation: SC

Supreme Court proposes to appoint retired High Court judge to monitor Lakhimpur violence case probe

The SC further as the Uttar Pradesh government why only Ashish Mishra's phone has been seized so far

As many as eight people, including four farmers, were killed on October 3, when a car allegedly ferrying the Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son ran over a group of protesters, gathered to oppose a programme attended by Uttar Pradesh's Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in Lakhimpur Kheri. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Monday proposed to appoint a former judge from Punjab and Haryana High Court to monitor the ongoing investigation into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case related to mowing down of four farmers and subsequent lynching of four other persons on October 3.

A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli also expressed gross dissatisfaction on pace of investigation and mixing of witnesses in three different FIRs in the matter after going through status report filed by the Uttar Pradesh government.

The court suggested the names of two retired High Court judges - Justices Rakesk Kumar Jain and Ranjeet Singh - outside the state of Uttar Pradesh to "infuse independence and impartiality" to the investigation.

The court also pulled up the state police, asking why mobile phones of all accused in the incident have not been seized, except that of prime accused Ashish Mishra so far. "Did other accused not use cell phones?" the bench asked, saying the pace of probe was not up to expectation.

The court also said there was nothing in the status report. 

"We had granted 10 days. Where are the lab reports," the bench asked. 

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, sought time to take instructions on the court's suggestion on appointment of a judge.

The bench put the matter arising out of a letter by advocate Shiv Kumar Tripathi and another lawyer for independent probe into the incident for consideration on Friday.

As many as eight people, including four farmers, were killed on October 3, when a car allegedly ferrying the Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son ran over a group of protesters, gathered to oppose a programme attended by Uttar Pradesh's Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya in Lakhimpur Kheri. The minister's son, Ashish Mishra was arrested in the case subsequently after the top court took up the letter petition.

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