Mystery or natural: Three judges recuse themselves from hearing judge Loya case

Vicky Nanjappa

Mumbai, Nov 30: Three judges of the Bombay High Court have recused themselves from hearing a petition which alleged that special CBI Judge B H Loya was poisoned. The petitioners, a Nagpur based lawyer, Satish Uke alleged that Loya, the special CBI judge presiding over the trial in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabbudin Sheikh was poisoned with a radioactive isotope.

The petition is before the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court. On Monday, when the petition came up, a Bench of Justices S B Shukre and S M Modak recused themselves from hearing the case.

Also Read | Who is Judge BH Loya? All you need to know about this case

The same petition came up on Wednesday before a Bench of Justices P N Deshmukh and Swapna Joshi. Not before the Bench of Justice Swapna Joshi, the Bench said. Justices Shukre, Modak and Joshi while recusing themselves from hearing the case, however did not assign any reason for the same.

Justice Shukre had told a newspaper last year that there was nothing suspicious behind judge Loya's death and the doctors had gone all out to save him. Justice Modak on the other hand was staying with Judge Loya at the Raj Bhavan guest house in Nagpur, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter. Judge Loya is said to have died of a heart attack on December 1 2014.

While these could be the reasons for Justices Shukre and Modak to recuse themselves, the reason behind Justice Joshi's decision not to hear the case is still not known.

Also Read | 'Only politics and nothing else', Maharashtra tells SC on Judge Loya's death

The petitioner alleged that BJP president Amit Shah, who was discharged in the encounter case had met with Ratan Kumar Sinha, then chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission in March 2015. He also said that retired district judge Prakash Thombre and advocate Shrikant Khandalkar had told him that Loya had died due to poisoning from a radioactive isotope. Thombre and Khandalkar have died since in allegedly mysterious circumstances.

A petition had also been filed in the Supreme Court earlier this year on the same issue. The court however held that the death of Judge Loya was a natural one.

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