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Judge Loya death: Rahul Gandhi leads 114 Opposition MPs to meet President Kovind, demands SIT probe

The Congress says an SIT should not have officers from the CBI and the NIA, adding that if there is no proper probe into the matter

india Updated: Feb 10, 2018 00:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Opposition meet with President,Loya death case
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, along with opposition leaders, addresses a press conference after meeting President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi on Friday.(Sonu Mehta/HT)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi led a delegation of Opposition MPs to Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday, demanding a Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the 2014 death of CBI special Judge BH Loya.

The delegation, which gave a memorandum signed by 114 MPs from 15 parties to President Ram Nath Kovind, said it had no faith in the investigations by government agencies because of their “track record”.

“Many MPs feel suspicious and uneasy. They also want the matter to be probed by an independent SIT (special investigation team) but not by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) or NIA (National Investigation Agency),” Gandhi told reporters after meeting Kovind.

Read: Congress raises more questions in judge Loya’s death case

The memorandum has been signed by MPs from the Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, Samajwadi Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Aam Aadmi Party, Muslim League, Revolutionary Socialist Party, All India United Democratic Front, Janata Dal (Secular), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Kerala Congress (Mani).

“To uphold the majesty of law, we request you to intervene in the matter. What is required is a thorough investigation through a team of independent officers selected and monitored by the Supreme Court,” the memorandum to the President said.

“Such a procedure will ensure the credibility of the institution in the eyes of the public. We sincerely hope you will use your good offices to serve the cause of justice,” it added.

Read: Loya’s death case: Don’t reduce this court to fish market, Justice Chandrachud tells lawyers

Gandhi said the President gave them a positive response, adding that the MPs were seeking a “proper investigation done by an independent structure”.

“There have been two other suspicious deaths,” Gandhi added, naming two other individuals whose deaths, the Congress has alleged, are connected to the Judge Loya case.

Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, died of a cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter. BJP president Amit Shah was named as one of the parties in the Sohrabuddin case but later discharged.

In November last year, media reports quoting Judge Loya’s sister raised questions about the circumstances surrounding his death. Last month, Judge Loya’s son Anuj said in a press conference that the family had “no allegations against anyone” and asked people not to “harass or trouble us”.

The Congress has upped its ante on the issue, saying democracy cannot survive in a nation where lawyers and judges involved in important cases are targeted.

Earlier in the day, the Maharashtra government termed petitions in the Supreme Court demanding an independent probe into Loya’s death as “motivated, ill-founded and based on yellow journalism”.

Rebutting charges of sloppy investigation by the state police into the death of Judge Loya, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Maharashtra government, said: “Four judges with Judge Loya have said he died a premature but natural death three years ago. Either these judges will have to be believed or this Court will have to say they are all lying.”

Rohatgi also dismissed the allegations that judges dealing with the Sohrabuddin encounter case were transferred despite the Supreme Court directions. “Petitioners must get their facts right. Trial in the Sohrabuddin case began only six months back. The transfers that happened in 2014 were prior to the beginning of the trial,” he said.

The arguments in the case will resume on February 12.

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 18:15 IST