Congress Demands Probe into the Death of Judge Loya

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The Congress wants a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to independently probe into Judge MN Joya’s death. It wants no involvement of the CBI and NIA. Here’s a report, for Different Truths.

The Congress is asking for an independent probe of the “truth” in the death of Judge M H Loya, “independent” meaning no involvement of the CBI and NIA. A bench of the Apex Court headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra is hearing petitions asking for an investigation. The Congress wants a Special Investigation Team (SIT).

To investigate the “truth”, there must be underlying belief and data/parameters. The Congress believes that the death was “suspicious”. On Wednesday, it set out the parameters as to “why suspicious?”

That being said, the Congress is a biased party. It wants the probe to be conducted in a certain way, based on specific parameters and conclude with a particular result that should not only embarrass Prime Minister Narendra Modi but also cook BJP President Amit Shah’s goose, once and for all.

In the Congress’s calculations, the death was suspicious, smelled of foul play and cover-up. On Wednesday the Congress fielded its legal-eagles Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid and Randeep Surjewala to voice its demand.

“Truth is to be investigated… Loya talked of pressure and right now democracy is under threat,” Sibal told the media. He and the two other presented the nature of their belief and the data they relied on to hold that belief. As reason for a probe, Sibal cited the doubts raised by Judge Loya’s sister and “other family members”.

The Congress apart, there are other interested parties, including a section of the media, which has already conducted its “probe/investigative reporting” and come to a conclusion. Opposition parties other than the Congress, which have picked up the clamour for a probe, include the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party and the Trinamool Congress.

The day the four senior judges held their presser-on-the-lawn, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had called for an investigation. Now, the party has thrown suspicion into two other “unexplained deaths”, that of lawyer-activist Shrikant Khandalkar and retired judge Prakash Tombre, both of which have been linked to the death of Judge Loya.

A note circulated by Sibal said Loya had confided in Khandalkar and Thombre about the pressure he was facing to exonerate the accused in the Sohrabuddin encounter death case, and that he had sought their help. Both men died mysterious deaths, the note alleged.

Khandalkar’s body was found behind a courthouse in Nagpur in November 15. “Khandalkar sahab was also getting threats… he was thrown off a building in November 2015,” Sibal said. And Judge Thombre died “suspiciously while travelling in train from Nagpur to Bangalore on May 16, 2016, in Hyderabad”.

Judge Loya “officially died of cardiac arrest” on December 1, 2014 in Nagpur, where he was to attend a wedding. Sibal alleged Loya’s post-mortem report was manipulated. “We can’t say anything about his death, but the circumstances are telling their own story,” he said.

Present at the press conference was Nagpur lawyer Satish Uke, who claimed Judge Loya approached him to “divert attention”, and that he (Uke) had filed matters against “influential persons who were pressurising judge Loya to pass a discharge order”.

Khandalkar, a short while before his death, allegedly told Uke that he was receiving threats from senior judges and others.

The Congress note says Uke himself was “threatened repeatedly” and “an attempt on his life” was made on June 8, 2016, when “around 5,000 kilograms of iron fell on the roof of his office moments after he had exited”. And “security for judge Loya had been withdrawn by Mumbai Police in the last week of November 2014”, a week before his death.

The Congress laid out its case for an independent probe in a power-point presentation. It said if the apex court sets up a SIT it will cooperate; and if the court doesn’t, the party would “go to every village and tell them that injustice is being meted out.”

It would take a miracle to move the Congress from its belief that Judge Loya’s death was unnatural and “suspicious”, especially because it has a vested interest in the result. There is a bias in its perception, based on its belief that investigation so far has been “lies, damned lies and statistics”.

Of course, only the baby that cries gets his milk, and the Congress is shouting for an independent probe. It should take care not being labelled a cry-baby. The unsolicited advice to the BJP is, no matter what it does, not go to sleep.

Sushil Kutty
©IPA Service 

Photos from the Internet

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