SC Reserves Verdict On Plea Seeking Independent Investigation In Justice Loya’s Death
March 18th, 2018
After hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case on Friday, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict on pleas seeking an independent investigation into the alleged mysterious death of CBI judge BH Loya who was reportedly said to have died of a cardiac arrest in Nagpur on 1 December 2014. The bench comprised of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.
The Caravan magazine raised suspicion over Loya’s death who was hearing the case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh. Notably, the magazine pointed to irregularities in accounts of his death, and the strange condition of the body when it was given to the family.
A journalist filed the petition to conduct an inquiry from Maharashtra, BS Lone and an activist Tehseen Poonawalla after the Loya’s family raised several questions over his death and alleged that many people attempted to bribe him before his death.
Highlights From The Court Hearing
According to the reports of NDTV, the Maharashtra Government told the SC that a request for an independent probe into Loya’s death was to keep the issue alive by targeting BJP President Amit Shah.
Mukul Rohatgi, a Senior Counsel, and Centre’s former top law officer further said to the court that ”a single word from the SC” can raise doubts on the four judges who were present with Loya when he died in a marriage function.
“The issue is sensitive and concerns the judiciary… if a probe is ordered then judges will become witnesses,” Rohatgi told the bench.
The Maharashtra Government opposed the petitions seeking a probe into Loya’s death.
Moreover, the Nagpur Police favoured the State Government as the Police stated that there was no cause for uncertainty into the previous investigation as Loya died due to a heart attack.
In contrast to it, Advocate Prashant Bhushan, an intervenor in the case said that the medical reports obtained from forensic experts were of the opinion that there was no sign of a heart attack.
In a previous hearing, the Bombay High Court judges stated that Loya suffered chest pain in the wee hours of 1 December 2014. So, “Does this not mean that he may have died due to poisoning? Because of poisoning also, there are similar symptoms of chest congestion and blood flow stops to the heart,” he added.
In the court, Chief Justice said that their “conscience and heart guided the bench” and if there are any signs of suspicion, we will not hesitate to order further investigation.
Ground Of Suspicions
In 2014, Loya was handling hearing of murder case against BJP President Amit Shah. However, after his death, a new judge discharged Amit Shah on the grounds of not having enough evidence for a trial.
After BJP President Shah got a clean chit from the CBI court in 2014, some unfortunate events occurred that threatened the autonomy of the Indian judiciary. These incidents include the mysterious death of CBI court Judge, Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, who was allegedly offered a Rs 100 crore bribe for a favourable verdict in the alleged fake encounter case
Even the decision of Chief Justice Dipak Misra’s to assign the probe petitions to a different bench by ignoring the country’s four senior-most judges raised several doubts about the court’s functioning.
Also, at the time when BJP is ruling almost in all the states, the case of Loya has become an essential weapon for the Congress against the Center. The Congress stated that “Democracy cannot survive in a nation where lawyers and judges involved in important cases are targeted.“
With a group of 15 opposition lawmakers, Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi met President Ram Nath Kovind last month to ask for an independent inquiry in the case.