SC seeks autopsy report of Judge Loya from Maharashtra government

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud today took note of the submission seeking urgent hearing on the plea for a probe into Loya's death on December 1, 2014.

The Supreme Court will tomorrow hear a plea seeking an independent investigation into the death of special CBI judge BH Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. Interestingly, a PIL filed by Bombay Lawyers' Association seeking an inquiry commission headed by a retired SC judge to look into Loya's death is pending before Bombay high court.

As advocate Varinder Kumar Sharma initiated arguments briefly on behalf of the petitioner, Congress sympathiser and relative of Robert Vadra, Tehseen Poonawalla, the court said, "This matter requires bi-party hearing rather than exparte". "The Bombay High Court is seized of the matter and in my opinion the Supreme Court should not hear this matter".

"We will not go by what the high court is doing".

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Interestingly, when it was taken up for hearing today, Senior Advocates Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising requested the Bench not to proceed with the matter, since a similar petition had been filed in the Bombay High Court.

Judge Loya, 48, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, had died on December 1, 2014, in Nagpur where he had gone to attend a wedding. The bench said it would consider the objections.

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. In his plea, Poonawala contended that the circumstances revolving around the death of the judge were questionable, mysterious and contradicting. "This is a serious issue", the bench said.

The case came back into headlines in November 2017 when some members of Loya's family told the Caravan magazine that there were a number of inconsistencies in the account they had been given about the judge's demise that gave them cause for suspicion - from the recorded time of death and the condition in which his body was returned to them, to the way it was handled, and other circumstances. The case was later transferred to CBI and the trial was shifted to Mumbai.

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