Judge Loya case: Supreme Court to decide today if independent probe into judge's death is warranted

The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on Thursday on whether to have an independent investigation into the death of special CBI judge BH Loya, who died in December 2014 while hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Judge Loya case: Supreme Court to decide today if independent probe into judges death is warranted

File image of Supreme Court. Reuters

Loya had allegedly died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on 1 December, 2014, when he was attending the wedding of a colleague's daughter.

However, a clutch of petitions were filed before the apex court, calling for an inquiry into Loya's death. The court had said it would order an investigation if there was ground for suspicion.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had on 16 March reserved the judgement on the pleas.

As reported by NDTV, the court in February this year said it was looking into "every aspect of the documents and material in minute detail" after it was asked to order an investigation in "public interest" by the lawyer representing the petitioners.

The Maharashtra government had argued in the court that all pleas seeking an independent probe into Loya's death were motivated and aimed at targeting "one individual" in the guise of upholding the rule of law.

It had come down heavily on alleged accusations, bullying and browbeating of judges in the top court by some activist lawyers in the Loya case and said that the judiciary and judicial officers need to be saved from such averments.

Meanwhile, those seeking an independent probe into the matter had referred to the sequence of events to highlight that a fair investigation was needed to rule out any foul play in the death.

The issue of Loya's death had come under spotlight in November last year after media reports quoting his sister had fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding it and its link to the Sohrabuddin case. But Loya's son had on 14 January said in Mumbai that his father had died of natural causes.

In the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, BJP president Amit Shah along with Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria, Rajasthan-based businessman Vimal Patni, former Gujarat police chief PC Pande, Additional Director General of Police Geeta Johri and Gujarat police officers Abhay Chudasama and NK Amin have already been discharged.

Several accused, including police personnel, are currently facing trial for their involvement in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and their associate Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat in November 2005. The case was later transferred to CBI and the trial shifted to Mumbai.

A batch of pleas, including those filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala and Maharashtra-based BS Lone, was filed in the top court seeking an independent probe into Loya's death in 2014.

Four senior-most apex court judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — at their 12 January press conference had questioned the manner in which sensitive cases were being allocated and Loya's case was one of them.

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Updated Date: Apr 19, 2018 09:09:10 IST

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