New Delhi: Supreme Court in its order on Monday disbanded the SIT formed to probe the 2021 Lakhimapur-Kheri farmers’ death case after it was apprised by the Uttar Pradesh government that the investigation is over and the trial is underway.
A bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Surya Kant, was hearing the PIL relating to 2021 Lakhmipur Kheri violence that claimed lives of 8 people, 4 of them being farmers allegedly mowed down by a convoy of vehicles allegedly used by accused, Ashish Mishra, the son of union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP), Ajay Kumar Mishra.
The Additional Advocate General (AAG) Garima Prashad, senior law officer of the UP govt, told the Apex Court that the report has come from SIT, investigation is complete.
The Top Court also took into record these submissions along with the arguments of Ms Prashad that the Trial is also going on in both cases. SIT appears to be functus officio (mandate has expired). Nothing left to be done by the Special Investigation Team (SIT).
“In view of fact that the SIT has already completed investigation, submitted charge-sheet, and now matter is pending before trial court, it appears to us that SIT has become functus officio,” the Apex Court said in its order today.
The Top Court also said we are satisfied that at this stage the members of SIT and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain (appointed to supervise probe) can be relieved of their responsibilities, as the investigation has been completed in the case.
The Supreme Court also clarified that if there arises any necessity to reconstitute SIT or any related issue, in futute, an appropriate order shall be passed in this regard.
Eight persons, including four farmers, were killed on October 3, 2021, after violence broke out in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh during a protest against the Centre’s farm laws that have now been repealed. Farmer bodies have alleged that a vehicle belonging to Mishra had run over a group of demonstrators.
Mishra was first arrested in the case on October 9, 2021. He walked out of jail on February 15, 2022, after the Allahabad High Court granted him bail.
On December 6, an Uttar Pradesh court had framed charges against 14 persons including Mishra.
Mishra has been charged for a number of offences including murder, attempt to murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy. The trial will begin on December 16.