Loya case: Transfer of judges plea

Narsi Benwal
malegaon blast case, 2008 malegaon blast case, Jolt, Sadhvi, Purphit, Hindu, Bombay High Court, Maharashtra

Mumbai: Even as several petitions came to be dismissed in the last one year, a fresh plea has been filed in the Bombay High Court regarding the death of special Judge BH Loya on Thursday. The petition claims to have ‘fresh material’ in the matter and thus seeks to be heard by a bench comprising of seven senior-most judges of the HC.

The petition also seeks transfer of the five sitting judges of the HC whose statements were recorded in this matter. The plea also seeks withdrawal of judicial power from these five judges, which includes the name of the fourth senior-most judge – Justice Bhushan Gavai – of the HC, until the matter is fully heard. It may be noted that the five judges, whose statements were recorded or have been named in several news reports are – Justices Bhushan Gavai, Sunil Shukre, Swapna Joshi, Shriram Modak and Vinay Joshi.

The petition filed by Pune-based activist Sanjay Bhalerao also seeks a thorough probe in the death of Judge Loya by a special team of three Indian Police Services (IPS) officers. The plea seeks probe to be carried by the IPS officers of states, where the government is not of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or its friend parties. Bhalerao has approached HC through his counsel Nitin Satpute and the matter is likely to be mentioned before a division bench of Justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Sarang Kotwal, on Friday.

The petition highlights numerous facts which came to light after the Supreme Court dismissed similar petitions earlier this year. It sheds light on the contradiction in the inquest panchnama and the post-mortem report of Judge Loya and also the alleged manipulation in records of the Ravi Bhava government guest house in Nagpur. The plea further states names of some sitting judges of the HC are shown in the news and the documents relating to the death of Judge Loya.

“In these circumstances, there is a complete possibility of continuous pressure on the other judges who will deal with the issue of Judge Loya. So any inquiry, investigation by any Court or investigation agency can also be under influence and pressure,” the plea reads.

“Witnesses of the case are unable to come out without any influence and pressure on them because people related with the case are working in Maharashtra government, holding the power of their duty. So the witnesses may not be in a position to disclose evidence freely,” the plea claims.

Bhalerao has claimed that if the probe is not conducted, then it would amount to injustice to the citizens of the country. The plea further seeks a direction to the government to restrain all its officials in Mantralaya and other departments, including two government pleaders at Nagpur bench, who have been related to documents in the case.