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‘Not satisfied with the steps taken’: SC slams UP Govt over Lakhimpur Kheri incident


New Delhi: The Supreme Court said that it is ‘not satisfied with the steps taken’ by the Uttar Pradesh Government with regards to the investigation into the death of eight persons killed in Lakhimpur Kheri violence. The Court also enquired the state why accused Ashish Mishra has not been arrested yet and said that not arresting the accused is sending a ‘wrong message’.


The bench of Chief Justice Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said the Uttar Pradesh government is not proceeding in the manner in which it should proceed against the accused. They added that the killing of eight people in Lakhimpur Kheri is a ‘brutal murder’ and law must take its course against all accused.


‘This is the opinion of the bench. We expect there is a responsible government, police officers and system. When there is a serious allegation of gunshot injury, will other accused in this country be treated the same way, by sending invitations?’ Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, heading the three-judge bench hearing the case questioned.


The Bench also expressed its displeasure with the media’s coverage of the incident. The court also raised questions on the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the state. The Bench further observed that transferring the case to CBI for investigation is also not a solution. ‘We are not making comments. CBI is not a solution for reasons known to you, because of the persons involved. Better some other people look into it,’ Chief Justice told senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government.


The apex court ordered the DGP of the UP government to safeguard the evidence and other materials in the case, and not destroy all in the interim, by the time another agency takes it over. It listed the matter for hearing on October 20 as the first case. Yesterday, the Bench had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to file a status report on who are the accused, against whom FIR has been filed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and how many of them are arrested.


Salve told the Bench that what has been done by State is not satisfactory and assured it that remedial action will be taken soon. He added that the accused, Ashish Mishra will appear tomorrow at 11 am, and if he does not come, the rigour of law will take its course. The Bench was hearing a letter petition by two advocates, Shiv Kumar Tripathi and CS Panda, seeking punishment for politicians allegedly involved in the incident.


A single-member Commission of Enquiry with headquarters at Lakhimpur Kheri has been constituted to investigate the death of 8 persons in Lakhimpur Kheri. Uttar Pradesh government has appointed retired Allahabad High Court judge Pradeep Kumar Srivastava as a single-member Commission to inquire about the incident and inquiry to be completed within a period of two months.


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