Retired judge RK Jain to monitor Lakhimpur Kheri probe; Supreme Court recasts SIT

Three IPS officers now part of probe team

Retired judge RK Jain to monitor Lakhimpur Kheri probe; Supreme Court recasts SIT

A vehicle set ablaze in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3. - File photo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 17

The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed Punjab and Haryana High Court’s retired judge Rakesh Kumar Jain to monitor the probe into the Lakhimpur Kheri violence “to assure full and complete justice to the victims of crime” in which eight persons, including four farmers, were killed on October 3.

The move is aimed at ensuring transparency, fairness and absolute impartiality in the outcome of the investigation, which is to be conducted in a time-bound manner. CJI-headed Bench

The move was aimed “at ensuring transparency, fairness and absolute impartiality in the outcome of the investigation, which is to

be conducted in a time-bound manner,” said a Bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana.

Justice RK Jain (retd)

The Bench — which included Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli — also upgraded and reconstituted the SIT formed by the UP Government by appointing three IPS officers suggested by the state. The officers are SB Shiradkar, Padmaja Chauhan and Preetinder Singh.

Shiradkar, an IPS officer of 1993 batch from Maharashtra and presently serving as ADG Intelligence in Uttar Pradesh, would head the SIT, the apex court said in its order. The newly constituted SIT shall be free to seek assistance or include local officers for taking the investigation to its logical conclusion under the continuous monitoring of Justice Jain, it said. “While investigating such offences, justice must not only be done, but also be seen and perceived to be done. We thus deem it appropriate to reconstitute the SIT…to preserve the faith and trust of people in the criminal administration of the justice system,” it said.

“The SIT shall make all efforts to conclude the investigation expeditiously and file the chargesheet,” it said, adding the matter would be heard after the filing of the status report and chargesheet. The top court said given the “nascent stage of the investigation”, it was reluctant to make any observation on the merits of the case. Noting that most officers in the SIT were in the grade of sub-inspectors from Lakhmipur Kheri region, the Bench had on November 15 asked the state to upgrade it by including some IPS officers. Four farmers were mowed down by an SUV in Lakhimpur Kheri when they were holding a demonstration against UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit on October 3. Two BJP workers and a driver were beaten to death allegedly by angry protesters. A local journalist was also killed in the violence.

Ten persons, including Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra, have so far been arrested in the case.

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