March 22, 2018

Loya death: Opposition seeks SIT probe in plea to Ram Nath Kovind

10 February 2018, 09:48 | Taylor George

Judge Loya death is suspicious: Rahul Gandhi says after opposition leaders meet President

Congress President Rahul Gandhi and 114 lawmakers from 15 parties met President Ram Nath Kovind in Delhi on Friday over Judge Loya death case

He wondered if all the four judicial officers who have given statement saying that judge Loya had died a premature but natural death were lying.

Opposition leaders outside Rashtrapati Bhawan.

MPs from several political parties, including the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and the DMK, met the president and presented him a memorandum with the demand. "They wanted an independent probe and did not want the investigation to be handed over to the CBI", Gandhi told reporters.

"A large number of MPs feel suspicious and uneasy over the death of judge Loya and two others". Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah was an accused in the case but was later discharged.

At the outset, Jaising referred to the first police report in the death of Loya, and said that requisites of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were not followed. "In return the deceased judge was offered 100 crores and a flat or land in Mumbai".

"Such statements disclose the commission of a cognisable offence for which lodging of a FIR is mandatory, a procedure consistent with the law as laid down by the Supreme Court. The diary would also provide a minute-by-minute account of the happenings", she said, urging the court to summon the case diary from the government for scrutiny by the bench. Two petitions asking for an investigation into Judge Loya's death are being heard by the Supreme Court. Shrikant Khandalkara, public spirited lawyer in Nagpur, allegedly fell from a high rise building in the district court on November 29th 2015 and Prakash Thombre, a retired district judge allegedly died on May 16th 2016 falling from the upper berth in a train. Soon after his death, the new judge who took over exonerated Shah of the charge owing to lack of evidence.

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The leaders have also written in the memorandum that they believe that if "lives of judges and lawyers are jeopardised for doing their duty, then democracy is under grave threat".

"A Supreme Court-monitored Special Investigation Team would be appropriate to probe the case", he said adding, "The President's response was positive". Neither the CBI nor the NIA, considering their recent track record should be entrusted with the investigation. "We sincerely hope you will use your good offices to serve the cause of justice", the letter said.

The CPI-M had been considering moving an impeachment motion against the CJI in the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, but the Congress managers said no decision in the sensitive matter should be taken in haste.

When asked about the need for demanding a separate probe as the SC is already hearing a Public Interest Litigation on the issue, Sibal said that such matters can not be decided through PILs. "These matters can not be decided through a Public Interest Litigation", he said.

The top court had earlier transferred to itself pleas pending in the Bombay High Court on Loya's death and restrained other courts from entertaining any petitions relating to it. A month after special CBI judge Loya's death, Shah was acquitted.

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