Who killed judge Loya?: Book promises to tell you the 'whole truth'
Isn’t the book likely to land him into trouble? For the moment, author Niranjan Takle is not ready to address the question, convinced that as a journalist he is duty bound to speak truth to power
A book self-published by journalist Niranjan Takle, ‘Who killed Judge Loya’ being formally launched on Sunday, May 1, has generated considerable curiosity.
In an interview Takle opened up about the controversial case and the mysterious death of the CBI special judge BH Loya who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case in which the Union Home Minister Amit Shah was an accused. The judge who replaced Loya after the latter’s death acquitted Shah in record time of less than a fortnight in December 2014.
Admitting that the story, published finally by Caravan in November 2017, changed his life, Takle says that the book is not just about the death of the judge but about the family of the deceased and his investigation. He continues to believe the judge was killed and hopes an inquiry some time in the future would unravel the truth.
He paid a heavy price for writing the story, says Takle ruefully. He has been out of a job for the last four and a half years. His daughter had to take a break from studies and start working. He received threats, suffered a heart attack and has undergone a bypass surgery. He also received threats but did not seek protection or file a police complaint because security by police, he says, would have restricted his movement.
Several publishers, after evincing interest in the book, backed out and though Marathi publishers were keen to publish the book, he was not comfortable writing in Marathi, Takle adds. He also didn’t get the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) till a publisher from Aurangabad (Dhamma Ganga) applied and received it.
It was a chance meeting with judge Loya’s niece that led him to investigate the judge’s sudden and mysterious death in 2014, he informs. The judge’s niece was attached to her ‘Mama’ and sobbed while recalling what she had overheard elders in the family speak and share. When Takle approached her mother and the deceased’s sister (Dr Anuradha Biyani), she initially refused to talk about the case but agreed to speak of their childhood.
She later confided that it was in October 2014 that judge Loya took her for a walk in Gaategaon (Latur) and spoke about the case, the pressure exerted on him and the offer of a Rs. 100 crore bribe to settle the case. Loya also mentioned it in his diary and shared it with close friends. Her brother was actually planning to take voluntary retirement and return to their ancestral village, she added.
There was no cardiac history in their family, she claimed, and informed that her brother was a teetotaler. In the Judges Colony at Mahalaxmi, he was popular and known as a sports enthusiast. The table tennis court in the sports complex is now named after him. Judge Loya’s son Anuj was an engineering student but after the death of his father, he opted to study Law. It was traumatic for him, Takle recalls, and the boy lost appetite, spoke little and became a recluse.
“I have self-published the book. I took help from Dhamma Ganga for ISBN number. For finances I have borrowed money from family and friends,” he added while denying that he had any political backing. “No, not at all. Will never take it. Otherwise, I would not have sold my house.”
“I resigned from The Week on November 6 and the story got published in Caravan on November 20, 2017 on my 50th birthday,” he recalls with a wry smile. Isn’t the book likely to land him into trouble? For the moment, Takle is not ready to address the question, convinced that as a journalist he is duty bound to speak truth to power.
(This article was first published in National Herald on Sunday.)