Updated: October 23, 2021 3:40:43 am
DESPITE BEING pulled up by the Supreme Court over the pace of its investigation in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, the UP government took a surprise step Friday by shifting the DIG heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the case to a different police jurisdiction as part of a reshuffle in the force.
According to a government order, SIT chief Upendra Kumar Agarwal will now take charge as DIG in charge of the Devipatan range. Lakhimpur Kheri falls under the Lucknow range, and the 2005-batch IPS officer had been attached to the DGP’s headquarters in Lucknow since Augustbthis year.
When contacted, ADGP (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said that despite the new posting, Upendra Kumar would continue to head the SIT.
However, UP Police sources told The Indian Express that with the Devipatan range office in Gonda district, about 200 km from Lakhimpur Kheri, the new posting could present a challenge for Kumar.
“It would not be possible for him to come daily to Lakhimpur Kheri and supervise the investigation. He is likely to take charge from Lakhimpur Kheri itself tomorrow morning but since the SIT’s investigation is presently at a crucial stage, he may go to his new office only after a few days,” sources said.
Upendra Kumar will take charge as DIG (Devipatan range) and take over from Rakesh Singh who will now be IG (Prayagraj range).
The state government transferred four other IPS officers as part of the reshuffle: IG (Ayodhya range) Dr Sanjeev Gupta has been made IG (law and order); IG (Basti range) Anil Kumar Rai will take charge as IG (PAC Central Zone) Lucknow; IG (Prayagraj range) K P Singh will be IG (Ayodhya range); and IG (law and order) Modak Rajesh D Rao will be IG (Basti range).
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had questioned the UP government on the status of the probe in the Lakhimpur Kheri case in which eight persons, including four farmers, were killed on October 3. The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana asked the government to “dispel [the] impression” that the state is “dragging its feet” in the case.
On Friday, a local court in Lakhimpur Kheri remanded the main accused Ashish Mishra, the son of Union MoS Ajay Mishra, and three others in police custody for two days. This is the second time that Ashish has been remanded in police custody.
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