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Published On: Fri, Feb 9th, 2018

Judge Loya death: Rahul leads MPs to meet President ask for SIT probe

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Oppn-Loya-1NEW DELHI: Opposition MPs called on President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday demanding an independent inquiry into the death of CBI judge B.H. Loya by a Supreme Court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT).
A delegation of 15 political parties that included Congress president Rahul Gandhi submitted a memorandum to President Kovind — signed by 114 Opposition MPs — requesting him to uphold the majesty of law by intervening in the matter.

MPs from several political parties, including the Congress the TMC, SP, NCP, DMK, RJD and AAP as well as the Left parties. The BSP is not a signatory to the letter. “To uphold the majesty of law, we request you to intervene in the matter. What is required is a thorough investigation through a team of independent officers selected and monitored by the Supreme Court,” the memorandum stated.
The investigation should not be entrusted to either the Central Bureau of Investigation or the National Investigation Agency, given their track record, the MPs said.
Loya, who was hearing the sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, died of a cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter.
Rahul Gandhi, who led the opposition charge, said a large number of MPs felt that there is something suspicious in the death of Loya and two more that took place thereafter.”They wanted an independent probe and did not want the investigation to be handed over to the CBI,” Gandhi said after the meeting.

He said the president gave a positive response and has assured them that he would look into the matter. “Two of judge Loya’s alleged confidants have also subsequently died under suspicious circumstances.
Srikant Khandalkara, a public-spirited lawyer in Nagpur, allegedly fell from a high-rise building in the District Court on November 29, 2015 and Prakash Thombre, a retired District Judge, allegedly died on May 16, 2016 falling from the upper berth in a train,” according to the memorandum.
The leaders have also written in the memorandum that they believe that if “lives of judges and lawyers are jeopardised for doing their duty, then democracy is under grave threat. Recently four senior most judges of the Supreme Court also expressed the sentiment that democracy was in peril”.
Stating that they have no faith in either the CBI or the NIA, Gandhi said they wanted an independent SIT, like in the 2G case.”Because we know what CBI officers do. In the case of Sohrabuddin (Sheikh fake encounter), CBI officers did not appeal (against the discharge of BJP president Amit Shah). We do not have any faith in them,” Congress leader Kapil Sibal said.
The issue came under the spotlight in November last year after media reports quoting his sister fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding his death and its link to the Sohrabuddin case.
Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad from Hyderabad on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra in November 2005. Sheikh was allegedly killed in a fake encounter near Gandhinagar.

Asked why the Opposition has petitioned the President when the Supreme Court is already hearing a case related to Judge Loya, Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who was part of the delegation said, “The Supreme Court is hearing a public interest litigation petition. There is no inquiry ordered.” He said on the basis of statements made by Judge Loya’s family, an FIR should have been registered soon after his death.
The memorandum to the President states, “Loya’s father and sister have revealed that Judge Loya was being pressurised by none other than the then Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court to render a decision in favour of the accused.
In return the deceased judge was offered ₹100 crore and a flat or land in Mumbai. Such statements disclose the commission of a cognizable offense, for which lodging an FIR is mandatory, a procedure consistent with the law laid down by the Supreme Court. For the Bombay High Court not to do so is a matter of grave concern.” ( With Agency Inputs ).


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