The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear on Friday two separate pleas seeking independent probe into the death of special CBI judge B H Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, in the forenoon, took note of the submission seeking urgent hearing on the plea filed by Maharashtra-based journalist B R Lone for a probe into Loya’s death on December 1, 2014.
Later in the day, another plea filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala on the same issue was mentioned by lawyer Varinder Kumar Sharma for urgent hearing before the bench, which agreed to hear it along with the earlier one.
Loya had died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter.
The issue came under the spotlight in November last year after media reports quoting his sister fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding his death and its link to the Sohrabuddin case.
Poonawala, in his plea, said the circumstances revolving around the death of the judge were “questionable, mysterious and contradicting”.
“It is the submission of the petitioner that the judges are bestowed with the duty to protect the Constitution and uphold the majesty of rule of law. The judiciary, if not protected, may be unable to fulfil its duty towards public at large. In cases where prima facie material is available to investigate, it is absolutely necessary to order an inquiry,” the Congress leader said.
The other plea filed by the journalist submitted that a fair probe was needed into the mysterious death of Loya, who was hearing the sensitive Sohrabuddin encounter case in which various police officers and BJP president Amit Shah were named as parties.
A PIL seeking probe into the judge’s death has also been filed before the Bombay High Court on January 8 by the Bombay Lawyers’ Association.
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.
A total of 23 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 Tulsidas Prajapati in Gujarat in November 2005.
The case was later transferred to CBI and the trial shifted to Mumbai.