The Supreme Court today expressed an unfavourable opinion of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) while hearing a petition concerning the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, in which eight people were killed.
The Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli had initially asked Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, whether the State government had asked the CBI to take over the investigation in the matter.
Salve replied, “Entirely in your lordships' hand. The State has not made such a request. Please have this on reopening. If you are not satisfied with the progress, hand it over to CBI.”
CJI Ramana made the following statement at this point:
“Mr. Salve, we have respect for you. We hope the State will take necessary steps due to the sensitivity of the issue. We are not making comments. CBI is not a solution for reasons known to you...because of the persons...better some other person looks into (the case).”
Ashish Mishra, the son of Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra, is accused of driving his vehicle into and killing protesting farmers. Salve had previously informed the Court that Mishra had been served with a summons to appear before the authorities at 11 a.m. tomorrow.
CJI Ramana further asked, “Is it the same way we treat other accused too? By sending notices etc.”
He further stated, “This is the opinion of the Bench...this is a responsible State government and police. When there is a serious allegation of death or gunshot injury, will other accused in this country be treated the same way?”
The Court eventually notes that it would hear the case after the Dussehra holiday and directed the State to keep the evidence in the case until then.