SC treating Loya’s death case seriously: Why Maha govt opposing probe?

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The Supreme Court on February 19 while hearing the death case of former session court judge H B Loya said it was treating the case as a public cause and it would not hesitate to order an investigation if it finds any suspicion in the death of the Judge. The Judge was hearing the Sohrabuddin Shaik encounter case in which besides Amit Shah the BJP chief, few police officers are also involved. It was reported that Judge Loya had summoned Amit Shah more than once, but the accused did not appear in the court. The Judge was said to be serious to hear the case without being pressurized by outside influence. The death of the judge occurred on December 1, 2014. He was attending a wedding ceremony outside Mumbai when he suffered chest pain and was rushed to the hospital where he died. The irony is that a magazine revealed the details of the events that followed the death and expressed suspicion about the declared natural demise, some three years after the demise. Many opposition leaders demanded the government to probe the death perhaps mainly because, after Loya’s death, his successor within a month acquitted Amit Shah of all charges. The kin of the judge who expressed their doubts about the circumstances at first, now admitted the version of the judges accompanied by the deceased that it was a natural death.

Now Bombay Lawyers Association and others have filed public interests litigations to probe the circumstances shrouding the death. However, the Maharasthra government is opposing these pleas. The three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud is hearing the case. The doubts revealed by the magazine are about few police officials and others. The suspicion did not adversely affect the functioning of the government. Then why the government is so seriously opposing the probe which is being demanded by the opposition. The senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi took days together to put his arguments and tried to convince the court that PILs were based on hearsay and there was no need to order the probe. He questioned the credentials of petitioners and said the pleas were completely bereft of sense. He said the ‘Oblique political motive’ was behind the flurry of PILs. This clearly is an indirect reference to the acquittal of Amit Shah. In this case the probe is a must to clear the doubts. He said the judges who accompanied Judge Loya at the time of his death gave statements that he died of natural causes. The statement is above the board, but they are not bound to smell the rat. What will be wrong if a probe is ordered?

The important point is the revelation of senior advocates Dushyant Dave and Pallav Shishodia  who are appearing on behalf of the petitioners demanding an independent probe. They told the court that pressure was being exerted on them to leave the case. The four senior judges who broke the tradition and addressed the press conference that the Chief Justice was not referring important cases to the senior judges spoke of the Loya’s death case also. The opposition on February 9 petitioned the President of India demanding an independent probe in the case. Against this background it is expected that the bench will do justice to the petitioners and ignore the illogical stand adopted by the Maharashtra government.

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