Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Congress ups ante, seeks Loya probe under SC's watch

Congress ups ante, seeks Loya probe under SC's watch

Judge Loya, who was hearing a case relating to the killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in an alleged fake shootout in which BJP chief Amit Shah was named an accused (later discharged by Special CBI Court, Mumbai), died of cardiac arrest in 2014.

The bench asked Dave to specify why the Supreme Court should not hear the petition.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the Bombay Lawyers Association, told the bench that the Bombay High Court was seized of the matter and the bench should not hear the plea.

The judges - J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph - said cases having "far-reaching consequences for the nation", were being "selectively" assigned to the benches of "their preference". Lone contended that a fair probe was needed into the "mysterious death" of Loya.

Advocate Anita Shenoy appeared for petitioner Maharashtra-based journalist Banduraj Sambhaji Lone. Loya was later found dead in mysterious circumstances while attending a wedding in Nagpur between the night of 30 November and the early morning of 1 December 2014.

The issue came under the spotlight in November previous year after a report in Caravan magazine linked the circumstances surrounding Loya's death to the trial in Sohrabuddin case. Mr. Poonawala, in his plea, said the circumstances of the death of the judge were "questionable, mysterious and contradicting".

Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed in 2005 in an alleged fake encounter by a team of the Gujarat police, which claimed that he was a member of the Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist outfit.

As advocate Varinder Kumar Sharma initiated arguments briefly on behalf of the petitioner, Congress sympathiser and relative of Robert Vadra, Tehseen Poonawalla, the court said, "This matter requires bi-party hearing rather than exparte". I have nothing to do with the politics surrounding the case.

"Unprecedented points raised by the honourable judges need to be looked into carefully, even Justice Loya's case must be looked at by the highest levels of the Supreme Court", Gandhi said at a press conference in New Delhi.

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