Judge Loya death: Opposition takes issue to President, seeks SIT probe

Congress president Rahul Gandhi along with opposition leaders addresses a press conference after meeting President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi on Friday

A delegation of 114 MPs from different opposition parties urged the president of India on Friday to order a judicial probe into the allegedly mysterious death of CBI special judge, B H Loya.

Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, had died allegedly of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter.

Rahul Gandhi, who led the opposition charge, said a large number of MPs felt that there is something suspicious in the death of Loya and two more that took place thereafter.

Mr Rohatgi said that what Ms Jaising was saying was "ill-founded" and she was promoting "yellow journalism" but she retorted: "Yellow, blue, red. What is required is a thorough investigation through a team of independent officers selected and monitored by the Supreme Court", the memorandum said. the memorandum signed by 114 MPs included, leaders of TMC, NCP, SP, RJD, DMK, Left parties and the AAP. He said an FIR should have been registered in 2014 when Loya's sister had complained that he was under pressure.

Rahul said the President gave them a positive response and assured them of looking into the matter.

"We all owe it to the Judge and his family and to the system that the investigation should be done independently and effectively", Gandhi said. "Either these judges will have to be believed or this court will have to say that they all are lying", senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Maharashtra, told a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. The leaders also cited how two of Justice Loya's confidants - Shrikant Khandalkar, a public spirited lawyer from Nagpur and Prakash Thombre - have also died under suspicious circumstances.

"A senior judge died under suspicious circumstances". His (Justice Loya's) death is suspicious, there have been two other suspicious deaths.

BJP president Amit Shah was an accused in the case but was later acquitted. "For the High Court to have transferred the judge despite Supreme Court's direction needs explanation". Such statements disclose the commission of a cognizable offence, for which lodging an FIR is mandatory, a procedure consistent with the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

With the arguments in the case remaining inconclusive, the Supreme Court will resume the hearing on February 12. "Such matters are not decided by PILs; an investigation is needed to find out the truth", Sibal said.

"This can not be decided through public interest", senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal told reporters and demanded a Special Investigation Team of officers selected by the Supreme Court. "We don't trust the CBI or NIA (National Investigation Agency) because we know what CBI and NIA officials do", Sibal said, referring to the 2G spectrum allocation case in which a special court let off all accused including former communications minister A Raja. Such a procedure will restore the credibility of institutions in the eyes of the public.

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