Mumbai: The death of judge BH Loya — who was hearing the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case — in 2014 should be investigated, says a petition filed in the Bombay High Court. The petition, filed by the Bombay Lawyers’ Association, has asked the court to set up a commission of inquiry headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.
The 48-year-old judge – who was hearing the CBI’s case of murder against BJP chief Amit Shah — had died of a cardiac arrest in Nagpur, where he had gone to attend a wedding on December 1, 2014. Mr Shah and several top police officers were cleared by a court.
In an interview to The Caravan news magazine, the judge’s family had called the death unnatural, triggering calls from various quarters about an independent inquiry.
Justice Bhushan Gavai, who was one of the judges who met judge Loya in Nagpur, told NDTV that there was no sign of any cover-up or mystery about the death. The other claims of the family have been countered by officials and doctors who helped reconstruct Judge Loya’s last few hours alive.
The Caravan article had quoted judge Loya’s sister Anuradha Biyani raising questions about the death. Judge Loya’s uncle told NDTV that he was under immense pressure and had considered quitting the job. The Loya family also raised doubts over who ordered the postmortem, and the identity of the person who signed off on it. The family claimed there were blood stains on the collar of judge Loya’s shirt when his body was returned.
The judge, who was initially taken to a local hospital in Nagpur, was later transferred to a bigger hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
The first hospital said he was alive when he arrived and climbed up the stairs along with a few other judges, complaining of “excruciating pain” in his chest. He was advised a transfer to the Meditrina, which specializes in heart-related treatments, as the hospital did not have a functioning ECG machine.
In Nagpur’s Government College Hospital, where the postmortem was conducted, the Dean had told NDTV that it is a standard procedure in cases where there is no previous record of heart ailments.
The mystery relative who signed the postmortem report was Dr Prashant Rathi, an orthopaedic surgeon. He said he had reached out when he received the news of judge Loya’s death. Justice Gavai said Dr Rathi was providing regular updates on phone to Judge Loya’s family.
Ms Biyani’s questions about an “RSS man” coordinating the transfer of the body from Nagpur to the judge’s hometown was answered by locals in Latur, who told NDTV that Ishwar Baheti was a family friend of judge Loya and had connections with all political parties.