The Supreme Court on Monday stayed an order of the Allahabad High Court granting bail to Yogesh Raj, an accused person in the 2018 Bulandshahr mob lynching case, Bar and Bench reported.
Police officer Subodh Kumar Singh was among two people who were killed in the violence in December 2018.
The Supreme Court observed that it was a serious matter, as it involved the lynching of a police officer on the pretext of cow slaughter. “Prima facie, it is a case of people taking law into their own hand,” a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh said.
The bench directed Raj to surrender within seven days. The court also sought a report from the trial court on how much time it would need to frame charges against the accused persons and to record the testimony of witnesses, Live Law reported.
The Allahabad High Court had granted bail to Raj in September 2019 on the grounds of parity as other accused persons had also been granted bail.
Singh’s wife Rajni Singh had appealed against the High Court in the Supreme Court. The petitioner contended that there was a risk that Raj may escape, and that he may also influence witnesses during the trial.
Raj’s lawyer Pashupati Nath Razdan claimed that his client was only protesting against cow slaughter, and that there was no specific allegation pertaining to lynching against him.
The court, however, noted that the Uttar Pradesh government, in its counter affidavit, has stated that the case was one of mob lynching.
Singh and another person were killed on December 3, 2018, after cattle carcasses were allegedly found in the fields of Mahaw village in Uttar Pradesh. Singh had gone to the site to restore law and order.
Raj is a Bajrang Dal member and has been charged with inciting a mob of over 400 people to attack the police inspector.
Singh’s family had initially criticised Chief Minister Adityanath for not visiting them after the incident. Adityanath had later expressed regret over the violence and Singh’s death and set up a Special Investigation Team to conduct an inquiry into the case.
In August 2019, a court had released six other accused persons on bail. After this, a video surfaced showing two of them – one of them BJP youth wing leader Shikhar Agarwal – being garlanded by supporters. Slogans such as “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram” were also heard in the video.
However, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had claimed that the state government or the BJP had nothing to do with the garlanding.