The court also observed that that the SIT needs to be upgraded, as it consists mostly of officers in the grade of Sub Inspectors from the Lakhimpur Kheri region.
The Supreme Court on Monday observed that that the Special Investigation Team constituted by the UP Police to investigate the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case needs to be upgraded, as it consists mostly of officers in the grade of Sub Inspectors from the Lakhimpur Kheri region.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, asked Senior Advocate Harish Salve, who represented the UP government, to circulate the names of IPS officers of UP cadre who do not hail from UP, for inclusion in the SIT.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government agreed to Supreme Court’s recommendations that a retired high court judge monitors the SIT probe in the case.
The bench will pass order on Wednesday, announcing the name of the judge who will overlook the investigation. It said it will take a day’s time as it is considering former Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge Rakesh Kumar Jain and others.
The apex court, on November 8, had expressed dissatisfaction over the probe and suggested that to infuse “independence, impartiality and fairness” in the ongoing investigation, a former judge of a “different high court” should monitor it on day-to-day basis.
The bench had also said that it has no confidence and does not want the one-member judicial commission appointed by the state to continue probe into the case. Retired Allahabad High Court judge Justice Pradeep Kumar Srivastava was named by the state government to enquire into the eruption of violence on Tikonia-Banbirpur road in Lakhimpur Kheri district.
Prior to this, the bench had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to provide protection to witnesses under the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 and to record the statements of other witnesses before the judicial magistrate under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and expedite the examination of digital evidence by experts.
The police has so far arrested 13 accused, including Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra, in connection with the case. The apex court was hearing a matter about the October 3 violence in Lakhimpur Kheri in which eight persons including four farmers were killed during a farmers’ protest.
Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in the convoy at Lakhimpur Kheri when a group agitating against the Centre’s three new farm laws was holding a demonstration against the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on October 3. Two BJP workers and a driver were beaten to death allegedly by the angry protesters, and a local journalist was killed in the violence.