The family of Brijgopal Harkishan Loya,a 48-year-old, judge who died in 2014, when he was hearing the matter related to the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, has raised questions over his suspicious death. They spoke up a number of suspicious details regarding Loya’s death. They alleged that there are inconsistencies in many parts of this story.
Loya took over as the judge in the Special Central Bureau of Investigation Court in Mumbai after another judge had been transferred. He was hearing Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s alleged encounter when he died in 2014.
It must be recalled that Sohrabuddin was killed in a fake encounter by Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Squad. The prime accused in the case was Amit Shah—Gujarat’s minister of state for home at the time of Sohrabuddin’s killing, and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national president at the time of Loya’s death. Shah was cleared of all charges by a court in 2015.
Loya was in Nagpur for a colleague’s daughter’s wedding. He was insisted by his two judge colleagues to join them. News of his death was broke to the family by a RSS worker Ishwar Baheti. He also arranged for Loya’s body to be moved to Gategoan. His body was sent to the native village unaccompanied by anyone but the ambulance driver. Surprisingly Loya’s mobile was also returned to the family by Ishwar Baheti few days later.
According to Anuradha Biyani, the judge’s sister, there were blood stains on his collar and shirt, his belt was twisted and pant clip was broken. However the official post-mortem declared the death due to heart attack. The family also revealed that the post-mortem had not been accompanied a panchnama or a medico-legal case.
According to the detailed report published in Caravan, several questions continued to haunt Loya’s family, which included, why was the family not informed when Loya was taken to hospital? Why were they not informed as soon as he died? Why were they not asked for approval of a post-mortem, or informed that one was to be performed, before the procedure was carried out? Who recommended the post-mortem, and why? What was suspicious about Loya’s death to cause a post-mortem to be recommended? What medication was administered to him at Dande Hospital? Was there not a single vehicle in Ravi Bhavan—which regularly hosts VIPs, including ministers, IAS and IPS officers and judges—available to ferry Loya to hospital? How did RSS worker Baheti came to know about his death? Why Loya’s mobile was returned by Baheti and not by police? Why Loya’s deadbody was not accompanied by anyone, the two judges who insisted him to come to the wedding, or Baheti who informed the family about his death?