UP government informed the Supreme Court that the accused have been identified by eyewitnesses in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, which left eight people, including four farmers, dead on October 3.
“All 16 accused have been identified,” senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the UP government, submitted before a bench headed by CJI NV Ramana that is hearing the case registered by the top court on its own motion as a public interest litigation.
The FIR named Ashish Mishra and “15-20” unknown people, 12 arrested. They are identified by police as Ashish Mishra, Luvkush Rana, Ashish Pandey, Ankit Das. Latif alias Kaale,Shekhar Bharti, Sumit Jaiswal,Shishu Pal, Nandan Singh Bisht,Satya Prakash Tripathi alias Satyam, Mohit Trivedi, Rinku Rana and Dharmendra. Three of the accused were killed in the violence that followed the incident.
Salve bargued by pointing out that statements of 30 out of 68 witnesses have been recorded before a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC and that a large volume of video evidence has been sent to the forensic science laboratories.
At this, the bench pointed out that there should be more eyewitnesses in the case given the fact that the incident took place when a farmers’ rally, comprising around 4,000-5000 people, was going on.
“You ask your agency how many more can be added as eyewitnesses. Eyewitnesses’ evidence is more credible. It is always better to have first-hand evidence in these types of cases. We have some apprehensions…we are a little concerned about these issues,” the bench told Salve.
The court added that the identification of the people in the vehicle that fatally mowed down four farmers should not be a problem when there was a gathering of at least 4,000 people. “There has to be some witness who would stand and tell what the truth is. Identification is important,” said the bench.
Salve assured the court that the state would look into the second FIR as well and file an appropriate report. The minister and his son, however, deny the charge that the latter was in the vehicle and say farmers pelted the car with stones that led to the driver losing control of the vehicle.
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