The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday opposed the bail plea filed in the Supreme Court by Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra, who has been accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, reported PTI.

At Thursday’s hearing, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict in the case.

Farmer bodies have alleged that a vehicle belonging to Mishra had run over a group of demonstrators on October 3, 2021. Eight persons, including four farmers, were killed on that day after violence broke out in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh during a protest against the Centre’s agricultural laws that have now been repealed.

Ashish Mishra was first arrested in the case on October 9, 2021. He walked out of jail on February 15, after the Allahabad High Court granted him bail.

However, families of those killed in the violence challenged the bail order in the Supreme Court, which overturned the High Court verdict and cancelled Mishra’s bail on April 18. He is currently lodged in Lakhimpur prison.

After setting aside the High Court’s bail order, the Supreme Court had asked to assign another bench to hear his plea. The new bench denied him bail in July, following which Mishra again moved the Supreme Court, challenging the order.

On Thursday, Additional Advocate General for the Uttar Pradesh government, Garima Prashad, told the Supreme Court: “It is a grave and heinous crime and [granting bail] will send a wrong signal to society.”

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for those opposing the bail plea, also said that allowing bail will send a terrible message, reported The Indian Express. “It’s a conspiracy and a well-planned murder,” Dave told the top court. “He is the son of a powerful man being represented by a powerful lawyer.”

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Mishra, urged that bail be granted to his client. Rohatgi told the court that Mishra has been in custody for more than a year and an Uttar Pradesh trial court had said last week that proceedings in the case will take five years to conclude, reported Bar and Bench.