New Investigation Raises Questions About Justice Loya's Post-Mortem
Fresh developments in the death of Justice Loya allege that the post-mortem examination of his body at the Government Medical College (GMC), Nagpur was manipulated by a doctor whose name had not appeared until now in connection to the judge’s mysterious death, reported The Caravan.
Earlier, justice Loya’s son had said that the family had no doubts about the integrity of the investigating agencies and that they were certain Loya died of a heart attack
While according to official record the post-mortem was conducted by Dr N K Tumram, a lecturer in the forensic medicine department of GMC, it was actually led by Dr Makarand Vyawahare, a former professor in the department. “Vyawahare is the brother-in-law of Sudhir Mungantiwar, the finance minister of Maharashtra, who is practically the number two in the BJP-led state government under Devendra Fadnavis,” said the report, further claiming that Dr Vyawahare was later investigated by the institution for manipulating many other post-mortems.
“Vyawahare showed extraordinary interest in Loya’s corpse. According to those employees interviewed for the investigation who were present during the post-mortem, he personally participated in and directed the post-mortem examination – even shouting down a junior doctor who tried to question him during the examination of Loya’s head, the back of which had a wound. Vyawahare made certain that the report made no mention of this crucial and glaring fact,” the report read.
Dr Vyawahare is the brother-in-law of Sudhir Mungantiwar – finance minister in the BJP government in Maharashtra. Additionally, the doctor is a member of the Maharashtra Medical Council and head the forensic department at another institution in Nagpur. The report says that the BJP-led state government has helped the doctor get away with several allegations, including cases of sexual harassment.
The Caravan’s Nikita Saxena carried out the two-month long investigation where she interviewed 14 current and former employees of GMC, some of whom had ‘direct knowledge’ of Justice Loya’s post-mortem.
One of the interviewed employees said that Loya’s head was on “the back, towards the right side” and was “the kind that is there when a stone hits and the skin tears.”
But the final post-mortem report made no mention of the head injury and listed the cause of death as “coronary artery insufficiency”. In fact, the report mentions “no evidence of ant body injuries” under the sub-head “details of wounds and injuries on the body.” It further says that the body had no signs of head injury.
The Caravan’s investigation claims that were was a “concerted effort” to hide observations that could raise suspicions regarding Loya’s cause of death and that Vyawahare “led the cover-up during the examination.”
“Kar sakte hai (He can do it), I would not say he can’t. He is a man who is capable of anything,” said an employee of GMC about Dr Vyawahare.
Another employee said, “If there is political pressure, then he could manipulate the findings.”
Dr Vyawahare denied any involvement in Justice Loya’s case.
Loya was the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge presiding over the trail of BJP top chief Amit Shah and several top officers in the Gujarat police for the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi in 2005. Shah was arrested by the CBI in July 2010 in connection with the alleged staged shooting.
Loya had taken over the trial after Justice JT Utpat, the judge who first heard the trial, was transferred from the CBI special court in mid-2014, in violation of the Supreme Court order which said that the trial be heard by the same judge from start to finish. Loya died on 1 December 2014 of an alleged cardiac arrest. Later the same year, Amit Shah was discharged by the Mumbai special CBI court.
An investigative report in The Caravan in November last year pointed at inconsistencies in the judge’s death, bringing the case back to headlines. Loya’s sister alleged that the then Chief Justice of Bombay high court had offered Loya a bribe of Rs 100 crore in return for a favourable judgement. The Caravan’s report was contradicted by a report in The Indian Express where lawyers accompanying justice Loya on the night of his alleged heart attack told the media outlet that there was nothing suspicious about his death. They also said that Bombay HC Chief Justice also came to the hospital to visit justice Loya.