Lakhimpur Kheri: A local court has sent Ashish Mishra alias Monu, son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni to 14 days of judicial custody after his arrest by Special Investigation Team (SIT) following 12 hours of intensive interrogation on Saturday night.
Special remand magistrate Diksha Bharati refused the application of the SIT seeking police remand after midnight and sent Ashish to 14 days of judicial custody.
However, SIT will move the court again on Monday to seek police remand of Ashish Mishra for further interrogation.
During the marathon interrogation on Saturday, Ashish failed to furnish any supportive evidence to prove his ‘innocence’ that he was not present in any of the three SUVs that went crushing the farmers killing four of them in the Tikunia area on Sunday last.
DIG Upendra Agarwal, who led the interrogation, informed the media persons on Saturday night at around 2300 hrs that they are taking Ashish Mishra in custody.
The DIG also disclosed that Ashish was not cooperating completely with the investigating team.
Sources said that the minister’s son could not give details of his whereabouts from 1420 hrs to 1536 hrs on the day of the violence.
Sources confirmed that Ashish provided videos to the team that he was not present at the time of the violence but the video proved contradictory visuals. Ashish tried to convince that he was at a wrestling function in his Banveerpur village at the time of the violence. But his video could not prove it.
It has been charged in the FIR that Ashish was driving the vehicle, which crushed the farmers. Ashish said his driver Hariom Mishra was driving the vehicle but could not give any convincing evidence.
Besides questioning Ashish, the SIT team issued notice to another key suspect Ankit Das, nephew of former BSP MP Akhilesh Das, after conducting a series of raids to take him in custody and grill him. The search operation was carried out in Lucknow as well in Lakhimpur Kheri but Ankit managed to remain ‘absconding.’ The SIT picked up his driver who too was present in the SUV which went crushing the famers and was later burnt by the agitated mob.
Reports said that Ashish appeared before the Crime Branch on Saturday at around 10:35 am, well before the scheduled time to appear at 11am as mentioned in the notice. To give the media a miss, Ashish Mishra rode on a scooty and reached the police line by entering from the back gate. To maintain his clout, Ashish reached with the local MP (his father) representative in the Parliament and the BJP MLA from Kheri Sadar constituency, Yogesh Verma. Two legal representatives were also accompanying Monu. Even his father Ajay Mishra chose to remain in Kheri and was present at the Party office when Ashish appeared before the SIT.
The Crime Branch team started questioning Ashish Mishra from 11am. The team put 40 queries before the minister’s son and also gave him time to provide evidence in his support that he was not present at the spot. Later more 150 questions were added to his interrogation.
The police also asked about his whereabouts at the time of the incident? How many vehicles were there in the fleet? How many people were present in the vehicles? Who was driving his vehicle? After the case was registered, where was he? Whom did he meet? Why was his mobile phone off? Did he meet any eyewitnesses related to the case? The questioning was made in presence of a Magistrate and the entire proceedings were recorded.
Ashish’s father Ajay Mishra was claiming from the beginning that his son was ‘innocent’ and that he was not present at the spot. He even said that if his son would be found guilty then he would quit the ministry.
Now with the arrest of his son, the opposition would further mount pressure on him to fulfill his promise and immediately resign, especially as he has no moral right to remain in the ministry even for a few minutes.
It may be mentioned that a FIR has been registered against Ashish Mishra under Section 302, 120B and 304A, 147, 148, 149, 279 and 338 of the IPC.