The Supreme Court is likely to resume hearing petitions seeking an independent probe into the death of Special CBI Judge B H Loya on Friday. A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and comprising Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud, will hear petitions by Maharashtra-based journalist Banduraj Sambhaji Lone and Congress’ Tehseen Poonawala, as well as one filed by former Navy chief L Ramdas, reported news agency PTI.
The petitions claim Judge Loya died under “mysterious” circumstances. At the time of his death in 2014, he was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh “fake encounter” case, in which BJP president Amit Shah was named an accused. Shah was later acquitted in the case.
Lone’s counsel Anita Shinoy had earlier told the SC that there was contradictory material in the case and that the top court should order an independent probe into it. Meanwhile, Poonawala called the case “questionable, mysterious and contradicting”.
The Congress Thursday reiterated its demand for an independent inquiry in light of doubts raised by the deceased’s family members. Congress leaders Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid and party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said “truth is to be investigated… Loya talked of pressure and right now democracy is under threat.”
The petitions in the case were earlier being heard by a two-judge bench comprisng Justice Arun Mishra and Mohan M Shantanagoudar, which felt the matter should be “put up before the appropriate bench.” The Chief Justice transferred it to a new bench, headed by himself.
The move came amid a standoff between senior judges of the Supreme Court — J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph – and the CJI. In an unprecedented press conference, the judges raised “selective” case allocation by the CJI.