Lakhimpur Violence: EX Punjab And Haryana HC Judge Appointed To Monitor Probe

Lakhimpur : The Supreme Court on Wednesday has appointed Rakesh Kumar Jain, former judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court, for monitoring the ongoing probe of Lakhimpur case.

Three IPS officers have also been appointed in the special investigation team (SIT). The Supreme Court will hear the case after the chargesheet is filed and a report is received from justice Jain. This appointment comes two days after the Uttar Pradesh Government agreed to appoint a former high court judge to monitor the probe into the incident in Lakhimpur Kheri, where eight people including four farmers died in October.

Earlier Supreme Court had asked UP Government to upgrade the team of officers investigating the probe of Lakhimpur Violence. The Supreme Court had asked for a list of senior officers.

UP Government has asked Supreme Court to take the call on selecting a retired High Court judge to head the probe. The Court has asked for a days time to consider the names. The Court has expressed huge concern over the current level of officers on the team.

“The concern is that you have to upgrade the taskforce that is probing the case. There need to be higher grade officers,” said Chief Justice NV Ramana.

Justice Surya Kant agreed: “Most officials in the current SIT (Special Investigation Team) are from Lakhimpur only. You give us the names of IPS officers who are from the UP cadre but don’t belong to UP.”

The UP government has faced many tough questions while fighting the case involving farmers run over in Lakhimpur Kheri, allegedly by Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra.

Eight people were killed on October 3 at Lakhimpur Kheri during a farmers’ protest. Four more, including a journalist, were killed in violence after four farmers were crushed by the Union Minister’s convoy.

Last week, the Supreme Court said it wants a retired High Court judge to oversee the case and that it was “not going the way we expected”.

The judges also said it appeared that two overlapping FIRs in the case were only aimed at protecting “one particular accused” and that the investigations were not kept separate as they should be. The judges did not name Ashish Mishra, who was arrested on October 11.

In previous hearings, the UP government was asked why there were “only 23 eyewitnesses” to the violence, and was ordered to gather more witnesses and give them protection. The UP government was also told to “dispel the feeling that you are dragging your feet” on the case.

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