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Justice Loya death case: Supreme Court asks Maharashtra government to give reports to petitioners; to hear plea seeking independent probe next week

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar passed the direction after the Maharashtra government submitted before the court documents, including Loya's postmortem report, in a sealed cover

Published: 16th January 2018 12:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2018 07:15 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court of India (File Photo)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today directed Maharashtra government to hand over all documents filed by it on the death of special CBI judge B H Loya to the petitioners who have sought an independent probe into it, saying they "should know everything".

The case, whose assignment to the bench hearing the PILs was a bone of contention of the unprecedented press conference by the four senior-most judges of the apex court, came up for hearing before a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar.

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

The issue had come under the spotlight in November last year after media reports quoting Loya's sister had fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding his death and its link to the Sohrabuddin case.

However, Loya's son had on January 14 said in Mumbai that his father died of natural causes and not under suspicious circumstances.

Today, at the outset, senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Maharashtra government, placed before the bench the documents, including Loya's medical and postmortem report, in a sealed cover.

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He told the court that these documents contained certain confidential materials which should not be made public.

However, the counsel appearing for the petitioners said they should be given copies of these documents.

To this, the bench observed, "it is a matter where they should know everything".

Salve told the court that these documents could be given to the petitioners but they should maintain its confidentiality and should not make them public.

"If anything is confidential, we will put confidential mark on that," Salve said.

The petitioners' counsel assured the top court that they would not make any of the documents public, after which the bench asked the state government to hand over the materials to the petitioners within seven days.

The bench, without specifying any date, adjourned the case and said it would be listed for hearing after a week.

"We are not fixing any date. We have said, list it after seven days," the bench said during the brief hearing in the jam-packed courtroom.

The apex court was hearing two separate PILs, filed by Maharashtra-based journalist B R Lone and Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla, seeking an independent probe into the alleged mysterious death of Loya.

The court had earlier termed as a "serious matter" the issue of Loya's death and had asked Maharashtra government to file certain documents, including the autopsy report.

Poonawalla's counsel had earlier told the court that this was a case of alleged mysterious death of a judge, who was hearing a sensitive case, and it was required to be probed independently.

In his plea, he has claimed that circumstances revolving around the death of the judge were "questionable, mysterious and contradicting".

The other plea filed by the journalist has submitted that a fair probe was needed into the mysterious death of Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin encounter case in which various police officers and BJP president Amit Shah were named as parties.

A PIL seeking probe into the judge's death was also filed before the Bombay High Court on January 8 by the Bombay Lawyers' Association.

The Indian judiciary was thrown into a turmoil on January 12 when four senior apex court judges, Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, had convened an unprecedented press conference raising some issues, including "selective" allocation of cases by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

In the encounter case, the BJP President along with Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria, Rajasthan-based businessman Vimal Patni, former Gujarat police chief P C Pande, Additional Director General of Police Geeta Johri and Gujarat police officers Abhay Chudasama and N K Amin, have already been discharged.

A total of 23 accused, including police personnel, are facing trial for their involvement in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and their associate Tulsidas Prajapati in Gujarat in November 2005.

The case was later transferred to CBI and the trial shifted to Mumbai.



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