The mystery surrounding the death of CBI Special Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya—who at the time of his death was hearing the sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused—has taken yet another dark turn. Judge Loya allegedly died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter. Earlier, doubts were raised over an electrocardiography (ECG) done on Loya at Dande Hospital, the first of the two Nagpur hospitals he was taken to after he allegedly complained of chest pain in the early hours of December 1, 2014.
Now it transpires that the station case diary for the entire year of 2014 of Sitabuldi Police Station in Nagpur —where the first police records in the case were filed— has gone missing. The case had been transferred from Sitabuldi to the Sadar Police Station in Nagpur on December 1. The original death report (Marg Khabri), which was in the case papers at Sadar Police Station, has been submitted in the Supreme Court by the Maharashtra Government. The Caravan reported that “The submitted documents include an Accidental Death Report registered at Nagpur’s Sitabuldi police station, which has jurisdiction over Meditrina [Hospital]. In it, Loya’s time and date of death is recorded as 6.15 am on “30/11/2014”—a day before he died.”
But the carbon copy of the original which remains at Sitabuldi Police Station has discrepancies from this original. National Herald has not seen the original death report described by The Caravan which was submitted in the Supreme Court; however, NH has accessed the carbon copy of this original death report at Sitabuldi Police Station, bearing the police station’s stamp. On close examination, it appears that the date of the incident and date of registration of the case was purportedly first recorded as November 30, 2014 but was later overwritten to December 1, 2014. The time of incident on the carbon copy has been recorded as 4 am, however the time of registration of the death report on the carbon copy was purportedly first entered as 6:30 am but was later overwritten to show 8.30 am. The time of death has been recorded as 6:15 am.
On the reverse side of the carbon copy of the death report seen by NH, is a handwritten note in Marathi written by the Senior Inspector of Sitabuldi Police Station Hemantkumar Kharabe, in which he concedes to the over-writing on entries 5, 6 and 7 of the carbon copy. Entries 5,6 and 7 are the entries described above, relating to time and date of filing of the report. Kharabe’s note—accompanied by the stamp of the Sitabuldi Police Station—translated in English from Marathi says “When the original document is inspected, there is an over-writing in serial numbers 5 and 6, 7 of the marg khabari. The copy of the same document is Xeroxed and it is true”.
NH has also accessed a document dated January 26, 2018 bearing the stamp of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sitabuldi, Nagpur, which says the Sitabuldi police have no information about whether they verified the identity of Dr Prashant Rathi —who had taken possession of Loya’s body after the post mortem at Nagpur Medical College, declaring that the deceased judge was “relative of my uncle”—as the case was transferred to Sadar Police Station. However, NH has accessed the Varas Pavati (handover of body) form dated December 1, 2014 which shows that the handover of Judge Loya’s body to Dr Prashant Rathi, with the description of being Loya’s uncle’s chulat bhau (cousin), was signed by Sitabuldi Police Station.
The documents dated January 26, 2018 bearing the stamp of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sitabuldi, Nagpur further reveal that the vehicle details of the ambulance and identity details of the driver—who transported the body of Judge Loya from Nagpur to his ancestral home at Gategaon in Latur district— are also not available in the Sitabuldi Station diary register.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing petitions asking for investigation into the circumstances of the death of Judge Loya. On February 2, the apex court resumed hearing on the pleas seeking a probe into Judge Loya’s death. The next date of hearing is February 5.
The Congress has also demanded an independent and impartial probe, saying that not just Judge Loya, but also a retired district judge and a lawyer, both from Nagpur and who Loya had confided in, also allegedly died under suspicious circumstances.