Lakhimpur Kheri: Ashis Teni fails to answer police summons
Union minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son Ashis failed to answer a police summons for questioning on Friday in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, prompting farmer leaders to allege he was in hiding and the government was trying to protect him.
The police have served a fresh notice asking Ashis to appear by 11am on Saturday or face legal action.
Teni, who was in Lucknow to meet chief minister Yogi Adityanath, said Ashis could not appear for questioning because he was “not well today” but would have his statement recorded on Saturday.
Teni declared his son innocent and denied he had gone into hiding.
A statement from the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which has been leading the 10-month-old farmer protests against three farm laws, said: “There is no trace of him (Ashis). News reports indicate that he is changing locations and is absconding, with several Uttar Pradesh police teams searching for him.”
Adityanath told a TV interviewer that nobody would be arrested until there was concrete evidence against them. Reminded about the allegation that Ashis was in a car that mowed down farmers, he said “there is no such video (showing Ashis)”.
A Thar jeep belonging to Teni and a Fortuner had run over and killed four protesting farmers and a journalist at Tikunia in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday afternoon with some eyewitnesses saying Ashis, also known as Monu, was in the car. Following the deaths, the farmers are alleged to have killed a driver and two BJP workers.
Some reports said Ashis, named in the murder FIR, may have fled to Nepal.
Deputy inspector-general (headquarters) Upendra Agarwal, head of the nine-member team probing the incident, had waited in vain for Ashis at the police lines on Friday morning before issuing the fresh notice. It was pasted on the wall of the minister’s home in the afternoon.
Adityanath, asked by the TV interviewer whether Ashis was absconding, skirted the question.
“An SIT (special investigation team) and a judicial commission have been formed. The judicial commission will probe the reasons behind the incident and the SIT will investigate deeper into the case,” he said.
Asked about Ashis’s alleged culpability, he said: “There’s no such video (showing him at the scene) till now. We have given out a phone number and told people to share evidence (via WhatsApp).... No action will be taken against anybody under pressure from anybody.”