The recent developments in the death of CBI Special Judge Loya in 2014 have now raised many questions on the police investigation and judiciary. The interview with Loya’s family, published in The Caravan magazine on 20th November, put forth some serious allegations of a larger conspiracy.
Justice Loya was the special judge in the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, in which BJP President Amit Shah was one of the accused. On 1 December 2014, Judge Brijgopal Harikishan Loya was found mysteriously dead after returning from a marriage function. The death was reported as a natural case, with no further probe. However, the family of Justice Loya alleged many inaccuracies which hint that his death may, in fact, be a murder.
Justice Loya was attending a marriage function in Nagpur on the 1st of December, 2014. According to Loya’s father, he was taken to Dande Hospital after experiencing some chest pain, in an autorickshaw. However, according to Justice Bhushan Gavai (who later went to see his body along with Justice Sunil Shukre) told The Indian Express that Loya was staying with his fellow judges Shridhar Kulkarni and Shriram Madhusudan. After experiencing pain in the chest at around 4 am, he was taken to Dande Hospital in a car. The two judges also claimed that there was nothing suspicious in Loya’s death.
In conversation with NDTV, Dr. Dande (Owner of Dande Hospital) said that Justice Loya was alive and even capable of walking when he arrived at the hospital. After his ECG report showed a possible heart attack, he was referred to the Meditrina Hospital, where he was declared dead upon arrival. However, Loya’s sister claims that the ECG was not working in Dande Hospital that day.
The cause of death was given as a heart attack in the postmortem. Yet, Loya’s sister (who is a doctor by profession) claims that her brother had no prior heart condition and such sudden fatal heart attack seems implausible.
The time of death was reported as 6.15am in the postmortem. Again, this raises new questions since the family claim that they started getting calls of his death since 5 am that morning. Another suspicious angle was the signing of the postmortem report by Loya’s “paternal cousin brother” when the family claims that they have no such relative in Nagpur.
Joint Commissioner of Nagpur Police, Shivaji Bhokde, told NDTV that the body of Justice Loya was brought to Latur in an ambulance, accompanied by a constable and two judiciary officials. Loya’s family claims that the body was accompanied only by the driver when the ambulance reached Latur.
While so many allegations are enough to put Loya’s death under suspicion, there are apparently many more. Even the beginning of this story, when Judge Loya replaced Judge JT Utpat, raised many eyebrows. Normally, the same judge is expected to hear a case from beginning to end.
Anuradha Biyani, Loya’s sister, further alleges that Mohit Shah (Chief Justice, Bombay High Court) had offered a bribe to Loya for giving a favorable verdict.
Loya’s family also alleged that Justice Loya was warned that even if he gave the verdict on the case, it would be overshadowed in national media by a more sensational news. Incidentally, the verdict lost focus when M S Dhoni announced his retirement that same day.
So many allegations surfaced out of the blues and almost three years after the incident. We cannot expect all of them to be authentic. Yet, if any of those allegations prove to be true, it would be a slap in the face of law enforcement and judiciary. So far, no ties have been made between Loya’s death and Amit Shah.