New Delhi: Senior advocate V Giri on Monday told the Supreme Court that the investigative report submitted by the state of Maharashtra in connection with the death of Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya was full of contradictions. Giri, appearing for petitioner Tehseen Poonawalla, said there were enough grounds for an independent inquiry into the circumstances around the CBI judge’s death.
A Supreme Court bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanvilkar and DY Chandrachud, were hearing petitions that demanded an independent investigation monitored by the Supreme Court into Loya’s death. When Loya died in December 2014, he was presiding over a special CBI court in Mumbai that was hearing a case about the extrajudicial murder by the Gujarat Police of alleged extortionist Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
BJP President Amit Shah was among the accused in the case. He was the home minister of Gujarat when the alleged fake encounter took place. In November, the Caravan magazine made some startling revelations that raised doubts on whether Loya’s death was natural.
On February 2, advocate Dushyant Dave, who is representing the Bombay Lawyers Association in the case, had made similar submissions. Dave had alleged that Loya’s body was taken to his village on the request of a cousin’s friend without the knowledge of his family, and that it was not taken to Bombay, where his family was living. However, Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Maharashtra, had denied that Loya’s body was handed over to a stranger.
It has been alleged that Loya was in Nagpur to attend the wedding of the daughter of a fellow judge when he died. On Monday, Giri said no investigation had been conducted to verify the claim that he was in Nagpur to attend a wedding or that he was present at Ravi Bhavan in Nagpur. Giri also claimed that the statements of four doctors who were present at the time of the CBI judge’s death had not been verified.
“Medical records contradict each other on discharge of judge Loya’s body from hospital,” the advocate said, according to Live Law. “The State Intelligence Department failed to explain as to how Dr Prashant Rathi came to be present at Sitabardi police station at 8.30 pm and Sadar police station at the same time as per the state’s records…The discrepancies in the date of admission of the deceased are glaring.”
Giri also pointed out that instead of recording statements of those judges who were with Loya at the time of the incident, the State Intelligence Department had only sent out letters to them. The judicial officers had sent written statements, which have not been verified by the department, Giri alleged.
“The said enquiry has been conducted by the DG/Commissioner outside the bounds of law in a casual manner,” he added.
The Supreme Court posted the matter for further hearing on February 9.