‘Lakhimpur probe is not going the way we expected’: SC suggests monitoring by ex-HC judge

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The Supreme Court Monday suggested that a former high court judge monitor the ongoing probe by the Uttar Pradesh police into the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri incident in which eight people, including four farmers, were killed in violence during a farmers’ protest, saying the investigation was not going the way it expected.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana sought the response of the Uttar Pradesh government, represented by senior advocates Harish Salve and Garima Prasad, by Friday.

The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, suggested the names of former judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justices Rakesh Kumar Jain or Ranjit Singh, for overseeing the probe till filing of the charge sheets in the cases.

The bench said the investigation was “not going the way we expected”.

It also took note of the delay in procuring the forensic reports regarding the video evidence.

Earlier, the bench had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to provide protection to witnesses under the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 and to record the statements of other witnesses before the judicial magistrate under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and expedite the examination of digital evidence by experts.

The police have so far arrested 13 accused, including Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra, in connection with the case.

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