May reopen judge Loya death case, says Maharashtra home minister
The Supreme Court (SC) had, in August 2018, held that Loya died of natural causes and had also rejected pleas seeking a special investigation team (SIT) probe into the death, questioning the motive of the petitioners.Updated: Jan 10, 2020 05:38 IST
Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday said the government could reopen the investigation into the death of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court judge BH Loya, if there is substance in the evidence presented before him.
Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case of Gujarat, died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter.
The Supreme Court (SC) had, in August 2018, held that Loya died of natural causes and had also rejected pleas seeking a special investigation team (SIT) probe into the death, questioning the motive of the petitioners.
Deshmukh said he will be meeting a few people who have claimed to have proof of foul play. According to home department officials, relatives and a few people close to Loya were expected to meet Deshmukh late on Thursday. The opposition, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has described the statement as a politically motivated move. The home minister said the people who contacted them said they have videos and call detail records to substantiate their claims.
“I will personally go through the files and other documents and if need be, we will reopen the case,” he said.
According to the officials, the people meeting the home minister had submitted a similar set of documents to Congress leader and SC lawyer Kapil Sibal, who had said there was foul play in the death of the judge. Sibal had later held press conferences and demanded that the case needed to be investigated thoroughly.
“Raking up the Loya death case after the SC verdict is nothing but politics. The government cannot defeat the truth whatever it does,” said Devendra Fadnavis, leader of Opposition in legislative Assembly and former chief minister.
BJP leader Ashish Shelar criticised Deshmukh and questioned if the home minister was acting under political prejudice. “By announcing to reopen the case disposed of by the SC, the question arises if the home minister is following the law or is acting with a certain prejudice?,” he questioned in a press release.
Meanwhile, Deshmukh reiterated that the case registered against Mumbai-based woman Tejal Prabhu for displaying a “Free Kashmir” placard during the recent protest at the Gateway of India against the attacks on New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, is being re-examined.
“The FIR can also be cancelled if her intention behind the placard is found to not be malafide or anti-national. She may have been expressing herself in order to raise her voice against the restrictions on internet and house arrests of the political leaders in Kashmir. We are investigating her background and her side she released through a video clip. The decision over the FIR against her will be taken after that,” he said.
According to a minister, the police are expected to withdraw the FIR soon. “The police have been claiming that the case has been registered to avoid any legal complications. They feared that the court will reprimand them if anybody moved court for not taking any action against her,” he said.