MUMBAI – Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said CBI Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya’s death should be reinvestigated if there is a demand and need for it.
“If there is something in it [the demands], then maybe a re-investigation should be done,” Pawar, whose party recently formed the government in Maharashtra in alliance with the Shiv Sena and Congress, told a Marathi news channel.
At the time of his death on December 1, 2014, Judge Loya was handling the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, in which Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah was an accused.
Questions were raised on whether Loya’s death was natural after The Caravan published a report in November 2017, in which Loya’s family said the circumstances of his death were suspicious and that he had been under pressure to deliver a favourable judgement. There were immediate demands for the Supreme Court to treat these questions seriously.
“I don’t know, I read in the paper in some articles, that there is a discussion among Maharashtra’s people to investigate in depth [the death of Justice Loya],” said Pawar, adding that he had no detailed information about it. “If there is a demand [for an investigation], then one should think about it – on what basis are they making this demand, what is the truth in it, this should be investigated. If there is something in it, then maybe a re-investigation should be done. If not, then it is not right to make baseless allegations on anyone either.”
In July 2018, the Supreme Court dismissed a review petition seeking an investigation into Loya’s death. The court was hearing a plea filed by the Bombay Lawyers Association seeking a review of the top court’s April 19 judgement dismissing pleas for an independent inquiry into Loya’s death.
In its April 2018 ruling, the top court said there was no reason to not believe the judicial officers who were present with Loya at the time of his death. It accused the petitioners of trying to “malign the judiciary” and called their petitions “scandalous and amounting to criminal contempt”.