Union Minister’s son Ashish Mishra, accused of running over farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri triggering violence that claimed eight lives earlier this month, was sent to police custody for three days on Monday.
Son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, Ashish Mishra was arrested on Saturday after being questioned for over 12 hours in Lakhimpur Kheri. The police said he had been giving “evasive answers” and not cooperating.
His arrest came five days after he was named in a murder case. The charges against him usually merit an immediate arrest and questions have been raised whether he was afforded VIP treatment because of his father.
According to top sources in the Uttar Pradesh Police, the minister’s son was not able explain several points about his whereabouts during the incident on October 3. They were also yet to get answers to questions surrounding the discovery of two empty cartridges at the scene which back the farmers’ claims of being fired at and contest those by Mr Mishra’s men who say there was no firing.
Witnesses have said he was missing from the event he said he was at between 2 and 4 pm – around the time the incident took place, his phone location showed him closer to the crime scene, and the driver of the SUV that rammed the farmers did not appear to match the description made by him.
The senior UP Police officer, who waited three hours for Ashish Mishra to show up on Friday, questioned him till late into the night a day later after he was brought in through a backdoor, helping him avoid the media gaggle. In another questionable move, the UP cops had issued notice to Ashish Mishra under a section of law which concerns attendance of witnesses – not the accused.
The arrest came a day after the Supreme Court reminded the Uttar Pradesh government that the law must take its course against “whoever is involved” amid nationwide outrage over the incident and mounting pressure from farmer groups.
Ashish Mishra has been named in an FIR filed by the farmers who said he drove into a gathering of slogan-shouting demonstrators amid a peaceful black flag protest last Sunday. Eight people, including four farmers and four from the convoy, died in the incident and the violence that it triggered.
Though the Union Minister’s son admits the SUV that ran over farmers belongs to him, but he maintains he was not in it. His team said he had produced around 150 images to show that he was not in the car that crushed the farmers.