An investigative report by Niranjan Takle published in news magazine Caravan had cast doubt over the circumstances leading to the death of CBI Special Judge Brijmohan Harikishan Loya, three years back in Nagpur. Loya had died of a heart attack in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, a day after he attended the wedding and reception of the daughter of fellow judge Swapna Joshi, who is now a judge in the Bombay High Court.
It must be noted that Loya had been hearing the high-profile case of allegedly staged encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in 2005 in which then Gujarat home minister and now BJP president Amit Shah was the prime accused.
News magazine Caravan carried an interview of the family members of the deceased judge – his sister Anuradha Biyani, niece Nupur Balaprasad Biyani and father Harkishan – and said that questions have emerged leading to Loya’s death: inconsistencies in the reported account of the death and the procedures followed after his death.
As per Harkishan Loya, the judge’s father, after he had chest pain, he was taken to Dande Hospitals, a private hospital in Nagpur, by auto rickshaw, where some medication was provided. The magazine quoted Biyani, who described Dande Hospital as “an obscure place”, where she “later learnt that the ECG was not working.” The report mentioned that Biyani had numerous questions about the events of the night of Loya’s death and the following morning. The Judge’s postmortem report was also allegedly signed by “maiyatacha chulatbhau”, or paternal cousin, when his family says there is no such person in the family.
According to the magazine, Judge Loya’s wife Sharmila and son Anuj declined to speak since they feared for their lives.
However, in a report, The Indian Express, has quoted two judges from Bombay High Court, who said there was “absolutely nothing suspicious about the death or the events around it”.
The IE report contradicted the claim that an ECG was not conducted at Dande Hospital when Loya was brought in. The report quoted the director of the hospital as saying, “It’s only after the ECG was taken that we realised he needed specialised cardiac treatment which is not available with us so we advised them to go to a bigger hospital.”
The Indian Express report also quoted medical records that show Loya suffered “retrosternal chest pain and had collapsed” while being brought to the second hospital.
Shortly after Judge Loya’s death, a new Judge, M.B. Gosavi had discharged Amit Shah, after hearing the parties for three days.
Twitterati too had their own take on this development:
So… “Counter Journalism”? Tragic to what low level some stoop to ‘punch holes’ instead of doing a proper investigation?
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— Ken Feathelite (@KenFeatherlite) November 27, 2017
It’s not only political parties who make counters but news agencies also.#kispebharosakaren
— Amar Kadam (@Azad_amar) November 27, 2017
— Congress Must Die (@pktutu) November 23, 2017