Loya and police investigation
Judge Loya (left) and a representational image of Maharashtra police (right)
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Maharashtra trial court judge B.H. Loya’s 2014 death was one of the issues raised by the Supreme Court judges Friday, but Nagpur DCP says death was ‘accidental’.

Mumbai: The death of judge B.H. Loya was one of the contentious issues mentioned by four senior Supreme Court judges in their unprecedented press conference Friday. However, the Nagpur Police maintained there was no cause for suspicion behind his death.

Rakesh Ola, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 2, Nagpur, said: “The concerned police station has filed an accidental death report. They have the post-mortem report that clearly states the cause of death as a ‘coronary artery insufficiency’; they have recorded versions of the doctor who attended to Loya and the relative who signed on the post-mortem report. None of this suggests any suspicion over his death.”

Trial court judge Loya died on 1 December 2014, when he was in Nagpur to attend the wedding of a fellow judge’s daughter. At the time, Loya was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, in which Amit Shah, now the national president of the BJP, was one of the accused. The following month, Shah was discharged from the case.

Family’s version missing?

In November last year, The Caravan magazine published a report in which Loya’s father, Harikishan Loya, and his sisters alleged that the judge was under immense pressure to give a favourable verdict in the case, raising suspicions over the circumstances of his death.

In November, ThePrint had reported that the Sadar police station, which was investigating the case, could not close the file as the judge’s family had not given its statement to the police, and the probe could not be completed without it. The police had begun re-verifying details of the case, procuring hospital documents such as the histopathology report, the electrocardiography report, the post-mortem report, and the medico-legal report, and recording fresh statements from doctors, the relative who signed on the post-mortem, the ambulance owner, its driver, the constable who accompanied the body to Latur and so on.

Asked about this Friday, Ola did not comment on whether the Sadar police station, which was investigating the case, had got the statement from Loya’s immediate family. “I cannot say whether the family has or has not been contacted, but I can say that based on the material on record, there is no suspicion,” he said.

However, a police official who did not wish to be named said they were still in the process of recording the immediate family’s version. Another source said the police recently turned down a Right to Information request seeking details of the case as Loya’s father did not give his consent for the information to be made public.

Loya’s father remained unavailable for comment, while his sister Anuradha Biyani, a government doctor in Dhule, refused to comment. His uncle, Srinivas Loya, said the family had still not returned to its home in Gategaon in Maharashtra’s Latur district.

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