The ignominious treatment given to late judge Loya

By The IST News Network

Why a high profile judge had to suffer the ignominy even 3 years after his death? No clue so far who can answer the questions raised by Dr. Anuradha Biyani, sister of the judge Brijgopal Harikrishan Loya, hearing the sensitive case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter involving Amit Shah, the then Home Minister of Gujarat?

As reported earlier, Loya was declared dead on arrival in a Nagpur hospital after reportedly suffering heart attack. An otherwise healthy Loya had no history of heart problem and how come the body had blood stains when it was supposed to be a heart attack. What was the role of RSS man in the entire episode? Why there was no vehicle in the VIP rest house at the time of ‘heart attack’ and why Loya was taken to hospital in an auto rickshaw fetched from at least 2 kms away?

Another serious allegation that Anuradha and her father had told the Caravan reporter Niranjan Takle that Loya had confided in them that Mohit Shah, the then Mumbai High Court Chief Justice had offered Loya 100 crore rupees for a favourable judgement in the case favouring Amit Shah. They had timed the judgement for 30 December so that in the prime time, this news would go unnoticed.

Earlier, as reported by Niranjan Takle, attempts were made to get a favourable judgement when the presiding judge Utpat reprimanded Amit Shah for avoiding appearance in the case proceedings and fixed June 26 as the new date of hearing but was transferred on 25th and Loya became in charge of the case. When Loya refused to budge, he was “eliminated”.

According to a February 2015 report in Outlook, “During the CBI court’s hearings that Utpat presided over for this one year, or even after, court records suggest Amit Shah had never turned up even once—including on the final day of discharge. Shah’s counsel apparently made oral submissions for exempting him from personal appearance on grounds ranging from him being ‘a diabetic and hence unable to move’ to the more blase: ‘he is busy in Delhi.’”

The Outlook report continued: “On June 6, 2014, Utpat had made his displeasure known to Shah’s counsel and, while allowing exemption for that day, ordered Shah’s presence on June 20.  But he didn’t show up again. According to media reports, Utpat told Shah’s counsel, ‘Every time you are seeking exemption without giving any reason.’” Utpat, the story noted, “fixed the next hearing for June 26. But on 25th, he was transferred to Pune.” This was in violation of a September 2012 Supreme Court order, that the Sohrabuddin trial “should be conducted from beginning to end by the same officer.”

Loya had at first appeared well disposed towards Shah’s request that he be exempted from personally appearing in court. As Outlook noted, “Utpat’s successor Loya was indulgent, waiving Shah’s personal appearance on each date.” But this apparent indulgence may just have been a matter of procedure. According to the Outlook story, “significantly, one of his last notings stated that Shah was being exempted from personal appearance ‘till the framing of charges.’

During a hearing on 31 October, Loya asked why Shah was absent. His lawyers pointed out that he had been exempted from appearance by Loya himself. Loya remarked that the exemption applied only when Shah was not in the state. That day, he said, Shah was in Mumbai to attend the swearing-in of the new BJP-led government in Maharashtra, and was only 1.5 kilometres away from the court. He instructed Shah’s counsel to ensure his appearance when he was in the state, and set the next hearing for 15 December.

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,” Mihir Desai said. “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.The same day, news of MS Dhoni’s retirement from test cricket dominated television screens and this news lost prominence.

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About Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 38 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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