It was not just BH Loya, judge of the special CBI court hearing the discharge petition of BJP president Amit Shah, but also a retired district judge and a lawyer, both from Nagpur and who Loya had confided in, who also allegedly died under suspicious circumstances. An alleged attempt on the life of the only surviving witness, lawyer Satish Uike, was also made, and this called for an independent and impartial probe, demanded Congress leaders Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Vivek Tankha and Randeep Surjewala at a Congress Party press conference on Wednesday afternoon. They added that agencies like CBI and NIA should not be given the case and there should be a SIT probe into Judge Loya's death. The entire press conference can be viewed here:
Following are the statements and allegations made by the Congress leaders.
Judge Loya, who was serving as the Registrar of the Bombay High Court under the then Chief Justice Mohit Shah, was transferred to the CBI court to deal with the discharge petition after his predecessor was unceremoniously transferred to Pune.
In the second week of October, 2014 Judge Loya approached Advocate Satish Uike through Advocate Shrikant Khandalkar and a retired District judge Prakash Thombre.
In a video call with Advocates Uike, Khandalkar and Thombre, judge Loya allegedly named not only the Chief Justice Mohit Shah but also Justice BR Gavai, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Subhanshu Joshi in Nagpur, who were pressurising him to deliver a favourable order.
Judge Loya claimed that he had been handed over a draft order which he was asked to deliver in the case. A copy of the draft was sent to retired district judge Thombre.
Barely three weeks before Judge Loya’s mysterious death, Thombre and Uike travelled to New Delhi to consult senior lawyers. But the lawyers felt there was insufficient evidence to approach the court. Uike and Thombre thereafter returned to Nagpur on November 9.
Documents shared at the press conference showing difference of opinion as to cause of Judge Loya’s post-mortem report
Judge Loya was persuaded to attend a wedding at Nagpur on November 30 but the next morning he was dead, allegedly of cardiac arrest.
- Advocate Khandalkar confided to Uike that he was receiving threats from Justice Gavai and Advocate Ketki Joshi
- Khandalkar’s body was found in the District Court premises of Nagpur on November 29, 2015. He allegedly fell from the 8th floor. With November 28 being a holiday, his body was discovered after two days
- Thombre also told Uike that he was receiving threats to his life and had been told that Justice Gavai would stop his pension
- On May 16, 2016 Thombre died in Hyderabad while travelling in a train from Nagpur to Bangalore. He was said to have fallen from the upper berth and broken his spine
Advocate Satish Uike has also received threats and on June 8, 2016 iron material weighing five thousand Kilograms fell on his office roof, completely destroying the office. He had stepped out of the office barely a minute ago. A complaint was filed at Nagpur but no FIR or investigation has been conducted so far.
Giving details of the suspicious circumstances, Congress leaders posed the following questions:
- Why was police security provided to judge Loya withdrawn in Mumbai from November 24, 2014?
- Why was no security provided to him in Nagpur?
- Why is there no travel record of Judge Loya who had travelled from Mumbai to Nagpur in a train?
- Why is there no entry of Judge Loya or Judge Modak in the occupancy register of Ravi Bhawan, the VIP guesthouse in Nagpur in which he had stayed?
- Why did Dr Tumram conduct the post-mortem examination without information to the family members of judge Loya and after obtaining consent of the immediate family members?