SC rules judge Loya's death was natural: Congress says verdict is 'sad day in the history of India'

Questioning the Supreme Court's dismissal of petitions seeking an SIT probe into the death of special CBI judge BH Loya, the Congress on Thursday said that the judgment left many questions unanswered.

"It's a sad day in the history of India," Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference. "The issue of criminality or the lack thereof can only be decided through investigation. No one, without an investigation, can decide whether the death is natural or unnatural," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that judge Loya's death was due to a natural cause, and went on to dismiss petitions seeking a probe. However, Surjewala contended that the death was not a natural one.

File photo of Randeep Singh Surjewala. News18

File photo of Randeep Singh Surjewala. News18

"Loya's sister gave an interview, alleging that he was offered a bribe of Rs 100 crore along with a flat in Mumbai if he were to deliver a verdict in favour of the accused. The ECG and histopathology report showed no evidence of a heart attack whatsoever. AIIMS doctor RK Sharma clearly stated that there was no sign of a heart attack and there was evidence that Loya was hit on head by a blunt weapon," Surjewala said.

Asking how there was no record of the judge travelling by train from Mumbai to Nagpur, the Congress spokesperson claimed that Loya had no security protection during his visit to Nagpur.

Surjewala said that there was no record of Loya staying in the hotel and there was no reason for three judges to sleep in two beds during their stay when adjoining rooms were available in the hotel.

Loya, who allegedly died of cardiac arrest on 1 December, 2014, had reportedly shared a hotel room with two judges when he was attending the wedding of a colleague's daughter in Nagpur.

 

"Loya's family had publicly stated that clothes had blood stains, especially near his neck. There are discrepancies even in recording Loya's name correctly in the post-mortem report," Surjewala said.

He also said that two of Loya's colleagues, who were informed about the pressure he was facing in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh 'fake encounter' case, also died under suspicious circumstances.

Surjewala asked why an SIT probe was not being allowed when there is "adequate suspicion being raised by forensic evidence, ECG, histopathology, opinion of experts, witness, and documents".

"In law, according to us, statements made by anyone before police officers have no value as evidence. The (four Bombay High Court) judges did not make a statement in front of a magistrate," he said, adding that the case needs to be investigated for its "truthfulness or falsehood".

"That's why, perhaps, Loya's death was raised by the four senior-most judges in the public domain at a press conference. This proves that they were concerned about protection of rights and the judiciary," he said.

After the Supreme Court's decision, BJP lashed out the Congress for questioning the judge's death for their political vendetta. National spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged that the "invisible" hand behind the petitions was that of Rahul Gandhi who tried to use the judiciary for the "character assassination" of Amit Shah.

Surjewala said that BJP's statement must be condemned with "strongest possible words" and asserted that the "Congress wasn't a petitioner" in the Supreme Court.

Surjewala said that BJP's stand reflected their "frustration". "INC is committed to the people's demand for a fair investigation in the suspicious circumstances surrounding Loya's death," he said.

Loya was the special CBI judge hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh 'fake encounter' case, in which BJP president Amit Shah was earlier an accused.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Apr 19, 2018 15:53 PM

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