Brijgopal Loya was the presiding judge over CBI Special Court Mumbai in Sohrabuddin’s case, who died on 1/12/14 at 0615 hours in Nagpur. He was in Nagpur to attend one of his colleague’s daughter’s wedding. The case was about Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s encounter killing in 2005. The accused in this case was Amit Shah who was the then Gujarat Home Minister and BJP’s National President at the time of Loya’s death. The cause of death reported by media was cardiac arrest but the family of the judge was suspicious that it could be a murder. To clear their suspicion regarding the same they asked for enquiry commission to probe Loya’s death but unfortunately none was set up.
When family enquired about the death of the judge, they were told that after the judge suffered cardiac arrest, he was taken to the Dande Hospital in Nagpur and there the ECG unit was not working so he was finally taken to the Meditrina Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
In 2012 Supreme Court ordered to shift the trial from Gujarat to Maharashtra stating that it was convinced that in order to preserve the integrity of the trial it is necessary to shift the proceedings outside the State. However the Court ordered that the case would be heard by the same judge from start to finish. But Supreme Court’s order was violated and the judge who first heard the case was transferred from the CBI Court in mid 2014 and was replaced by Loya.
It is believed that Mr. Loya had sound medical history. The case came into media’s attention when the MP’s of Trinamool Congress started protesting in Parliament’s winter session demanding inquiry into Loya’s death. The family was approached by the reporters asking about their suspicion of murder but the family was reluctant to answer any question as the family feared for their lives.
The shocking part and the main reason of suspicion of murder is that none of the two judges accompanied the dead body of the judge to the house and didn’t pay visit to the judge’s house for one and a half month. A judge is entitled to security and safety but in this case the body was brought to the house without any security. There was just the ambulance driver with the dead body. Apart from this, there were also blood stains on the cloth of the judge, but the post mortem report said that the clothes were dry. It was informed to Mr. Loya’s family that he was brought to the Hospital in auto rickshaw but the auto rickshaw stand was almost two kilometers away from the place where Mr. Loya suffered cardiac arrest. When the family tried to enquire about the post mortem report from the Hospital authorities they divulged giving any information regarding his treatment. And also the time of death reported in the post mortem report was 6:15 am, however the family was informed about the death around 5:00 am onwards.
Anuradha Biyani, who is the niece of Mr. Loya reported that Mohit Shah, who served as the chief justice of the Bombay High Court between June 2010 and September 2015, offered Loya a bribe of Rs 100 crore for a favourable judgment. According to her, Mohit Shah “would call him late at night to meet in civil dress and pressure him to issue the judgment as soon as possible and to ensure that it is a positive judgment.” Mr. Loya’s father also agreed with the niece’s statement and told that even he was aware of this..
After Loya’s death, MB Gosavi was appointed to the Sohrabuddin case. Gosavi began hearing the case on 15 December 2014. “He heard the defence lawyers argue for three days to discharge Amit Shah of all the charges, while the CBI, the prosecuting agency, argued for 15 minutes,” as per a report. He concluded the hearing on 17 December and reserved his order. On 30 December, around one month after Loya’s death, Gosavi upheld the defence’s argument that the CBI had political motives for implicating the accused. With that, he discharged Amit Shah.
How a judge deciding whether BJP chief Amit Shah should be tried for murder died in December 2014 must be investigated, says one of the most respected judicial voices in the country, Justice AP Shah.
In an interview to NDTV, Justice AP Shah, who retired as the most senior judge of the Delhi High Court and headed the Law Commission said, “His family feels very strongly that there was some foul play in his death. Now there was a long list of circumstances starting from the fact that there was blood on his clothes, and somebody signed the postmortem report as it is. They feel that there is something wrong with the conclusion that he died of cardiac arrest.”
“I feel that it is very necessary that the head of judiciary – either CJI (Chief Justice of India) or Chief Justice of Bombay High Court should look into it,” said Justice AP Shah.
A former Bombay high court judge, Justice (retired) B.H. Marlapalle, has written to the current chief justice of the court urging a probe into the ‘mysterious circumstances’ surrounding the death of Brijgopal Harkishan Loya in December 2014.
With his letter to Justice Manjula Chellur about the allegations of foul play in the death of the special CBI judge – who at the time was presiding over the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was the prime accused – Marlapalle has joined other members of judiciary to speak out against the allegations.
Stating that the apex court “while interpreting Article 235 of the Constitution of India, has repeatedly stated that the High Court is the guardian of the subordinate judiciary,” he said that Justice Chellur ordering an SIT probe into the matter “will certainly make the subordinate Court Judges to believe that they are not orphans.”
All these things happening one after another indicate some political power behind the death of Mr. Loya. Every person is entitled to justice and so is the family of this honest judge. Living in a democratic country like India we should all stand for the justice of Mr. Loya’s family.
Read the Original Story reported by The Caravan Magazine at:
By Shruti Singh, Legal Intern at Legal Desire