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SC dismisses pleas seeking probe into Judge Loya’s death, says he died a natural death

SC dismisses pleas seeking probe into Judge Loya’s death, says he died a natural death

In a major development, the Supreme Court of India on Thursday rejected a bunch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) that sought for a special investigation to the death of special CBI Judge BH Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabudhin Sheikh fake encounter case in which BJP president Amit Shah is an accused.

The much-awaited judgment which carried political importance was delivered by a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, who had on March 16 reserved the judgment on the pleas.

Judge Loya 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. He was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, involving various police officers and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, at the time of his death.

"There is no reason to doubt statements of four judges on circumstances leading to the death of Loya and the documents placed on record and their scrutiny establishes that Loya's death was due to natural cause," the apex court said dismissing the pleas.

The supreme court bench also alleged that The petition filed by the petitioners and intervenors was an attempt to scandalise the judiciary. Political vendettas should be resolved out of the court, the court stated.

Maharashtra-based journalist BS Lone and activist Tehseen Poonavala had filed independent pleas seeking a fair probe into the death of Judge Loya. Senior advocates Dushyant Dave, Indira Jaising, V Giri, PS Surendranath and Pallav Shishodia along with advocate Prashant Bhushan appeared for the petitioners.

Maharashtra, which had submitted a 50-page intelligence report that included four affidavits signed by judges of the Bombay High Court, was represented by senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Harish Salve along with Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

In the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, BJP President Amit Shah 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.

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

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

With inputs from PTI