New Delhi: Even as the Supreme Court is yet to decide on an independent inquiry into the mysterious death of CBI Special Judge BH Loya in 2014, fresh questions have been raised by yet another investigation carried out by The Caravan, which first questioned the circumstances of the death in November last year.
The judge was hearing the discharge petition filed by BJP national president Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. While Shah never appeared before the court, Judge Loya had reprimanded his counsel and demanded his presence on the next date of hearing.
However, Judge Loya ostensibly died of a heart attack he suffered while staying in the VIP guesthouse Ravi Bhavan in Nagpur. Following the exposure in Caravan, four judges in their statement claimed that the judge had died of natural causes and that there was nothing fishy or controversial about it.
The judge’s relatives, however, had voiced their doubt and claimed that the judge was under pressure to discharge the BJP national president. They had also claimed that the judge had been offered ₹100 Crore and a flat in Mumbai.
In the latest investigation carried out by the magazine, its reporter interviewed as many as 17 current and former employees who were posted in Ravi Bhavan when judge Loya died. All of them claimed to have learnt of the judge’s death in the last few months after the story first broke in Caravan.
These are the questions raised by the investigation:
- All the 17 employees were intrigued that they never received a whiff about the death of a guest till reports started coming out in newspapers late in 2017.
- They agreed that had the judge complained of uneasiness and had he been taken out of the guesthouse to a hospital, they would have known.
- They claimed that if a guest felt uneasy, he would make a call to the Reception. But no call was received at the reception from either judge Loya or any other judge.
- It is unlikely that the Receptionist, the night guard and the phone operator besides others on the night shift would not have come to know of a guest being taken to the hospital.
- The employees claimed that they would normally take 10-15 minutes to organise an ambulance and rush guests fallen ill to the hospital, if necessary. But the judges claimed that they called up judge Barde posted at Nagpur and living in another part of Nagpur to pick up another judge Rathi and then reach the guesthouse to take judge Loya to hospital.
- On November 30, there were a number of suites which were vacant and there was certainly no need for three judges to stay in suite number 10, as the judges claimed.
- Suite no. 10 on the first floor of Ravi Bhavan is close to the Reception, the only staircase and the phone operator. There was no way they could have missed a car drawing up, judge Loya and other judges climb down the stairs and the car driving away.
- Contrary to the claim of the judges, Ravi Bhavan, the employees maintained, had no system of supplying additional mattresses. Each suite in any case had two beds, they said.
- During the session of the legislature, if additional crockery, mattresses etc. were required, a store by the name of Seva Kunj would supply them to the guesthouse.
- The Caravan reporter asked the Chief Engineer and the Superintending Engineer in charge of the guesthouse if they had known of judge Loya being driven out to the hospital. They pleaded ignorance.