Lakhimpur violence: Court allows SIT to replace lesser charges with attempt to murder

Vehicle set ablaze after violence broke in Lakhimpur Kheri | Photo: ANI

Lakhimpur Kheri: A court here on Tuesday allowed the SIT probing the Lakhimpur Kheri violence to add the charge of attempt to murder in the FIR against the accused, including Union minister Ajay Mishra's son, after the inquiry team said it was a "pre-planned conspiracy".

All 13 accused in the Tikunia violence case were produced in the court of chief judicial magistrate Chinta Ram during the day.

The magistrate agreed to replace lesser charges like causing death by negligence with the more serious one of attempt to murder (section 307) in connection with the death of eight people, including four farmers, in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3.

The FIR against them already mentions IPC sections 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).

Earlier, the special investigation team (SIT) had urged the chief judicial magistrate to replace IPC sections 279 (rash driving/riding), 338 (causing grievous injuries by negligence) and 304A (causing death by a rash and negligent act) with IPC section 307 (attempt to murder) among others.

It also recommended the promulgation of IPC sections 326 (voluntarily causing injuries by dangerous weapons), 34 (acts by several persons with common intentions) and sections 3/25/30 of the Arms Act in warrants of the 13 accused.

"Chief judicial magistrate Chinta Ram allowed the special investigators to add IPC sections 307, 326 and sections 3/25/30 read with section 35 of the Arms Act against 13 accused of FIR number 219 in which MoS Home Ajay Kumar Mishra's son Ashish Mishra, alias Monu, is the main accused," senior prosecution officer S P Yadav told PTI.

"After hearing the arguments of the prosecution and the defence counsels on Tuesday, the magistrate also allowed to drop section 279, 338 and 304A of the IPC against the accused," he said.

The defence counsels, while arguing in the court, objected to the addition of section 34 of the IPC and provisions of the Arms Act.

The court, however, held that the addition of section 34 was unjustified as the accused had already been remanded under section 149, the prosecution officer said.

The accused have been arrested in connection with FIR number 219 which pertains to the death of the four farmers and a local journalist in Tikunia.

"Chief Investigator of the SIT Vidyaram Diwakar, probing Tikunia violence, moved an application in the court of CJM Chinta Ram stating the probe and evidence gathered so far established that the violence leading to the death of five people and injuries to several others was not an act of negligence or carelessness," Yadav had earlier told PTI.

"The chief investigator stated in his application that the act was a pre-planned conspiracy, causing death, owing to which the earlier IPC sections in the FIR namely sections 279, 338 and 304A were dropped and IPC sections 307, 326, 34 and sections 3/25/30 of the Arms Act were added," Yadav said.

He said the chief investigating officer urged the court to rectify the warrants of the 13 accused who are in judicial custody.

The court instructed the accused to be present on Tuesday to incorporate the changes in the IPC sections in their warrants, the prosecution officer said.

The violence in Tikunia that broke out when a group of farmers was protesting the visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya to Union minister Ajay Mishra's native place had left four farmers, a local journalist, two BJP workers and a driver dead and several injured.

Two FIRs were lodged in this connection.

The first FIR, number 219/2021, was lodged by farmer Jagjeet Singh in connection with the deaths of farmers and a journalist in which he implicated Ashish Mishra alias Monu, the son of the Union minister, and 15 to 20 others.

The second FIR, number 220/221, was lodged by BJP worker Sumit Jaiswal in connection with the death of two party workers and a driver, in which he implicated unidentified assailants.

The Uttar Pradesh government had formed a nine-member SIT to investigate both the cases. The SIT was later reconstituted by the Supreme Court.

The special investigators, while investigating the violence, had identified and arrested 13 people in FIR number 219, including Ashish Mishra, Sumit Jaiswal, Ankit Das and others, while in FIR number 220, four people were identified and arrested.

All the accused are in judicial custody. PTI

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