After a division bench recused itself from hearing a petition seeking a probe into CBI judge B H Loya’s death, another judge of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday withdrew from the case
Loya, who was presiding over the trial of Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter in which BJP chief Amit Shah and some senior IPS officials were among the accused, died of a heart attack in 2014 while staying at the government guest house ‘Ravi Bhavan’ in Nagpur. Shah, who was Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home at the time of the alleged fake encounter, was later discharged in the case.
A petition regarding Loya’s death filed by advocate Satish Ukey came up before a bench of Justices S B Shukre and S M Modak here on November 26, but the judges said ‘not before them’, meaning they will not hear it. The petition was then assigned to a bench of Justices P N Deshmukh and Swapna Joshi. However, Justice Joshi recused herself from the case Wednesday.
Ukey’s petition seeks that all records related to Loya’s “suspicious” death be safeguarded, including those of the state guest house. He has already moved a judicial magistrate’s court in Nagpur seeking a probe into Loya’s death.
Ukey told PTI that the chief justice of the Bombay High Court will now constitute a new bench to hear his plea before the high court.
Shaikh, a suspected gangster with terror links, was shot dead on November 26, 2005 while he was in the custody of Gujarat Police in an alleged fake encounter. His wife Kausar Bi was allegedly killed later.
Tulsiram Prajapati, his aide who was said to be a witness to the encounter, was allegedly killed in another fake encounter in December 2006. Of the 38 people charged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for the alleged fake encounters, sixteen of them including Shah and all senior police officials were discharged.
The Supreme Court in April rejected petitions demanding an independent probe in Loya’s death, holding he died of natural causes.