Ashish Mishra, the son of a Union minister, has been remanded in police custody for three days on Monday after he allegedly ran over farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh, killing eight people.
Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, was arrested in Lakhimpur Kheri on Saturday after more than 12 hours of interrogation. Police said he was given a “fake answer” and did not cooperate.
He was arrested five days after his name came up in a murder case. The charges against him usually qualify for immediate arrest, and questions have been raised about whether he was given VIP treatment because of his father.
According to top sources in the Uttar Pradesh police, the minister’s son could not explain his whereabouts at the time of the October incident.
Eyewitnesses said he was absent from the incident. He said he was between 2pm and 2pm – when the incident happened, his phone location showed him near the crime scene, and the driver of the SUV that pushed the farmers did not match his description.
The senior UP police officer, who waited three hours for Ashish Mishra to appear on Friday, interrogated him late into the night after bringing him through the back door, which helped him avoid media goggles. In another suspicious move, UP police issued a notice to Ashish Mishra under a section of the law relating to the presence of witnesses – not accused.
The incident comes a day after the Supreme Court reminded the Uttar Pradesh government that the law must go against “whoever is involved” in the incident amidst nationwide outrage and pressure from peasant groups.
Ashish Mishra’s name was mentioned in an FIR filed by farmers, who said he went to a rally of slogan-shouting protesters during a peaceful black flag protest last Sunday. Eight people, including four farmers and four of the caravan, died in the incident and the violence that erupted.
Although the Union Minister’s son admitted that the SUV that was driven over the farmers was his, he claimed that he was not in it. His team said he made about 150 pictures to show that the car he was not in crushed the farmers.