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Published On: Thu, Apr 19th, 2018

Top Court rejects probe into Judge Loya’s death, Says Petitions “Scandalous”

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1461252581-021NEW DELHI : Judge B.H. Loya died of natural causes three years ago and there is “absolutely no merit” in the public interest litigation (PIL) petitions alleging foul play in his death, the Supreme Court concluded on Thursday.
The Supreme Court foreclosed any future questions on Judge Loya’s demise, saying its verdict spelt the end of any further litigation on the circumstances surrounding his death.index

Dismissing the pleas for an independent probe, the Bench said there was no reason to doubt the statements of four judges on the circumstances leading to the death of judge Loya. The apex court said that the documents placed on record and their scrutiny established that the CBI judge’s death was due to a natural cause.
Special CBI judge B H Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case involving BJP Amit Shah. Loya had on December 1, 2014 died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur, where he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter.

Attempts were made to scandalise the judiciary by levelling serious allegations against judges and judicial officers of the Bombay High Court, said a Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and judges A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

The Supreme Court said that with these petitions it became clear that a real attempt and a frontal attack was being made on the independence of the judiciary. The apex court also said that a frivolous and motivated litigation had been filed to settle a political score. It also said that political battles should be fought in the “halls of democracy” and not inside court, reported Bar & Bench.

The apex court had earlier asked the Maharashtra government to submit the post-mortem report of the CBI judge, who had died under suspicious circumstances in 2014, citing that the “matter was very serious”. Maharashtra-based journalist B S Lone and activist Tehseen Poonavala had filed independent pleas seeking a fair probe into the death of Justice Loya.
“The court said that there was no chance to doubt the statement of the lower judges who were accompanying Judge Loya. The court has assumed that somewhere the image of the judiciary is being maligned,” Karketakar said.
The issue of Justice Loya’s death had come under the spotlight in November last year after media reports quoting his sister fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding his demise and its possible links with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. However, Justice Loya’s son had on January 14 said in Mumbai that his father had died of natural causes.

The case became a rallying point for the opposition, which said there was a threat to democracy when lawyers and judges working on important cases were targeted. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi met President Ram Nath Kovind with a group of lawmakers, asking for an independent investigation into judge Loya’s death.

The Congress also alleged that besides judge Loya, two men he reportedly confided in about pressure and threats — lawyer Shrikant Khandalkar and district judge Prakash Thombre —  died mysteriously. In 2015, lawyer Shrikant Khandalkar fell to his death from the sixth floor of a district court building. The next year, Prakash Thombre fell from the top berth inside a train coach and his spine broke.
The ruling BJP came down heavily on the Opposition after the Supreme Court dismissed the Loya death case petition. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the petitions were filed with a political agenda. Accusing the Congress of being the “invisible political power or a political platform” behind the petition, Patra said it was an attempt to settle political rivalry.(With Agency Inputs ).




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