What Led To Arrest Of Minister's Son: The Inside Story

According to sources, while Ashish Mishra had said that he was at a wrestling event around 4-5 km from the scene of the violence on Sunday

Ashish Mishra was arrested by the UP Police after he was questioned for 12 hours

New Delhi:

For the nearly two hours in the afternoon on October 3 during which an SUV belonging to Ashish Mishra rammed farmers on protest in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri, the son of junior Union Home Minister Ajay Mishra has not been able to establish that he was somewhere else.

Sources in the Uttar Pradesh Police have told NDTV that the minister's son was arrested on Saturday since he was not able to answer several questions about his whereabouts during the violence allegedly triggered after the vehicle ran over farmers.

They were also yet to get answers to questions surrounding the discovery of two empty cartridges at the scene which back the farmers' claims of being fired at and contest those by Mr Mishra's men who say there was no firing.

According to sources, while Ashish Mishra had said that he was at a wrestling event around 4-5 km from the scene of the violence on Sunday, the statements of police personnel posted at the event and the people there reveal that the minister's son was missing between 2 and 4 pm. The SUV ran over the farmers around 3 pm according to the complaint filed by them.

Ashish Mishra's mobile tower location at the time also shows his location in and around the crime scene, they said. Mr Mishra, however, has told the police that he was in his rice mill at the time which is closer to the crime scene under the same tower.

His alibi was further strained because of the First Information Report or FIR registered by Mr Mishra's aides against the farmers for allegedly killing three of their men including his driver Hari Om.

Even though the FIR said that Hari Om was driving the Mahindra Thar which ran over the farmers, a video analysed by the police shows that a man wearing a white shirt or kurta is driving the Thar; Hari Om was found wearing a yellow kurta when his body was brought to the hospital.

Based on these three points of contention and Mr Mishra not being forthcoming with the facts, he was arrested, the sources said. The police also said he had been "evasive" in his responses and not cooperating.

His arrest came five days after he was named in a murder case. The charges against him usually merit an immediate arrest and questions have been raised whether he was afforded VIP treatment because of his father. He had also skipped summons a day ago.

Ashish Mishra had been named in an FIR filed by the farmers who said he drove into a gathering of slogan-shouting demonstrators amid a peaceful black-flag protest last Sunday. Eight people, including four farmers and four from the convoy, died in the incident and the violence that it triggered.

Though the Union Minister's son admits the SUV that ran over farmers belongs to him, but he maintains he was not in it.

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