Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra's son Ashish Mishra was arrested on Saturday night following over 11 hours of questioning in connection with the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, a day after the Supreme Court expressed dissatisfaction over the state government's action in the case.
DIG Upendra Agarwal, who is heading the special investigation team of Uttar Pradesh Police probing the case, told reporters that Ashish Misra was not cooperating during the interrogation.
"We are taking him in custody on grounds of non-cooperation and evasive replies. He will be produced in court and sustained custodial interrogation will follow," he said.
Ashish Mishra was named in an FIR following allegations that he was in one of the vehicles that mowed down four farmers protesting over UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya's visit last Sunday.
Farmer leaders and opposition parties had been demanding Mishra's arrest but the minister and his son had denied the allegations.
Two Bharatiya Janata Party workers and their driver were allegedly lynched by angry farmers in the incident. Local journalist Raman Kashyap also died in the violence, which has triggered a political storm and put the BJP government on the back foot in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.
Mishra appeared before the SIT at around 10.30 am after a second summons was served to him the previous day when he did not turn up for interrogation. He was arrested at around 11 pm after being grilled by the SIT at the crime branch office in the Police Lines.
Security personnel were deployed in strength and barricades put up in the area around the police line.
Mishra is being kept in the interrogation room and will be produced before the court after medical examination, police sources said.
Aged around 35, Ashish Mishra looks after the political activities of his father in his Kheri parliamentary constituency.
While his son was facing questioning by the SIT, Ajay Mishra was in his MP's office in Lakhimpur city with lawyers and later came out to calm his supporters, who had assembled in large number outside the house and were shouting slogans in favour of him and his son,
The minister told them that Ashish was innocent and would come out clean.
The Supreme Court had on Friday on questioned the non-arrest of the accused, directed preservation of evidence and mulled transferring the probe to another agency.
Without mincing words, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana had said the law must take its course against all accused and the government has to take all remedial steps in this regard to inspire confidence in the investigation into the brutal murder of eight persons.
- Earlier report: SIT quizzes Ashish Mishra for over 9 hours