The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government appears to be “dragging its feet” in the investigation into the October 3 violence in Lakhimpur Kheri district, the Supreme Court said on October 20, legal news website Bar and Bench reported.
At least eight people, including four farmers, were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri during a protest against the three farm laws. Ten people, including Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni, have been arrested in the case so far.
"We think you are dragging your feet. Please dispel that impression," observed the Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli observed during the hearing. The Bench had taken up the matter on October 7 after two lawyers sought the Supreme Court’s intervention in the case.
READ: Book those involved in death of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri for murder: Varun Gandhi to Yogi Adityanath
On October 20, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, told the court that he has filed a report about the violence in a sealed cover.
“No, that was not required and we have just received it now...We waited till 1 AM last night for any filing. But we received nothing," CJI said in response to Salve.
The top court observed that the Special Investigation Team in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case will have to protect vulnerable witnesses, according to a report in Live Law.
“Your SIT can recognise who are the most vulnerable witnesses and can be browbeaten...then why only four witness statements have been recorded?” Justice Kant asked Salve.
Salve sought more time for the recording of the statements, after which the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing to October 26.
Also, read: Lakhimpur Kheri violence: Video purportedly shows SUV running over farmers, Priyanka Gandhi ups the ante
The two lawyers from Uttar Pradesh had written a letter to CJI NV Ramana seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
In its previous hearing on October 8, the SC had said that it was not satisfied with the steps taken by the Uttar Pradesh government
in the investigation of the violence.