The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted interim bail for eight weeks to Ashish Mishra, the son of Union minister Ajay Mishra, in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, reported Live Law.
A bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and JK Maheshwari had reserved the judgement in the last hearing on January 19.
In its order on Wednesday, the bench also directed Mishra to leave Uttar Pradesh within one week of his release as prosecution had said that he could influence witnesses in the case.
During his bail period, Mishra cannot stay in Uttar Pradesh or the National Capital Region, according to the order.
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Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh during a protest against the Centre’s agricultural laws that have now been repealed.
At its last hearing, the Uttar Pradesh government had opposed Mishra’s bail plea saying that he is accused of committing a grave and heinous crime.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for those opposing the bail plea, had said that granting bail to Mishra will send a terrible message, reported The Indian Express. “It’s a conspiracy and a well-planned murder,” Dave had told the court. “He is the son of a powerful man being represented by a powerful lawyer.”
However, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Mishra, had submitted that his client has been in custody for more than a year. Rohatgi had also said that according to Uttar Pradesh trial court’s statement, the proceedings in the criminal case will take five years to conclude.
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.
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.