SC refuses to widen Loya death case to include Amit Shah

SC refuses to widen Loya death case to include Amit Shah

SC refuses to widen Loya death case to include Amit Shah

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to widen the scope of its hearing on a plea for independent probe into the death of Mumbai's special CBI judge B H Loya to include BJP president Amit Shah.

Shah was an accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, which was being heard by the judge at the time of his death on December 1, 2014. Shah was subsequently discharged in the case.

"We are only concerned with the death of the judge. That's all. Let it be clear," a three-judge bench, presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said after a two-hour long hearing on a batch of petitions for an SIT probe into the judge's demise.

The court's observation came after a counsel, representing Mumbai-based lawyer Dr Jayshri Laxmanrao Patil, sought issuance of a notice to Shah, among others. The court, however, allowed the counsel to argue the matter on the next date of hearing - February 8.

Appearing for Bombay Lawyers Association, senior advocate Dushyant Dave  asked why  even if it was assumed that Loya's was a natural death, why there can't be an independent probe after suspicion has been raised by the sister, father, wife and son of the judge.

The family members should be called by the bench to ascertain the truth, he urged. The counsel also named former  high court chief justice  over the  claim that he had told the family members about "offer of Rs 100 crore bribe to Loya by Shah".

Besides, claiming "glaring contradictions" in the case records, Dave said the CBI did not file an appeal against the discharge of Shah and some police officers, but preferred to challenge it in case of other officers like N K Amin, who wanted to turn approver in the case.

"Why is the state (Maharashtra) shying away from the probe? We are not against anybody. But we would be doing great disservice to the institution if we don't protect our judges," he said.

He also questioned the discreet inquiry ordered by the chief justice of the Bombay High Court after the news reports.

All the four judges who recorded their statements in the inquiry by the state intelligence chief must be called for cross examination, he contended.

Dave also read out case records to contend that Justice Loya was not taken to  any of the  best hospitals in Nagpur, where he had gone to attend the marriage of his colleague's daughter, and why the accompanying judges did not immediately  ring up his wife to inform about his death.

On this, Justice D Y Chandrachud said, "Individuals react differently in the face of calamity. Somebody cannot now say they should have acted in a different way. Their conduct does not determine the truth behind the case".

Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi, along with Harish Salve, countered Dave that he was trying to malign the judiciary.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for an intervenor, sought direction to bring all original records of the case, to which the state counsel agreed.

Appearing for Congress sympathiser Tehnseen Poonawalla, senior advocate V Giri submitted there were allegations of interpolation in the case records, which required investigation.