Lakhimpur violence: Supreme Court appoints ex-judge Rakesh Kumar Jain of Punjab and Haryana HC to monitor SIT probe

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed the former Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, to monitor the investigation into the Lakhimpur Kheri murders and violence to ensure fairness and impartiality in the probe.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli also reconstituted the Special Investigation Team to include three IPS officers.

The appointment of Justice Jain came after the Uttar Pradesh government agreed to the court’s proposal to have a retired High Court judge monitor the probe.

October 3 saw vehicles allegedly belonging to a convoy of Union Minister and BJP MP Ajay Kumar Mishra mow down farmers and civilians holding a rally at Lakhimpur Kheri as part of a protest against the Central agricultural laws. The incident led to violence. Eight people, including four farmers, lost their lives that day.

Minister’s son Ashish Mishra is a prime accused in one of the two FIRs registered on the incidents.

Waning confidence
The suggestion to have a retired judge at the helm came after the court expressed its waning confidence about the fate of the investigation at the hands of the police.

“The investigation is not going the way we expected… We are here to see that a proper investigation takes place. There is a need to appoint a retired High Court judge to monitor it [investigation] without bias,” Chief Justice Ramana said in the previous hearing.

The court had refused to entertain suggestions from some lawyers to order the CBI to take over the investigation from the police. “The CBI is not the solution to everything,”it remarked.

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