Shrinivas Loya also said he wanted an inquiry into the death of the judge.
New Delhi: Just hours after late judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya’s son reiterated his claim that there was “no doubt in family” that his father had died of natural causes, Loya’s paternal uncle Shrinivas Loya contradicted him, saying that he wanted an inquiry into the matter and that 21-year-old Anuj Loya was likely “under pressure” to make those claims.
At a hurriedly-arranged press conference on Sunday evening, Anuj had blamed his earlier suspicions on “emotional turmoil,” adding that his family was not making allegations against anyone. Upon being asked whether he had ever harboured suspicions over the special CBI judge’s death, he said: “I was in emotional turmoil, right now I am in emotional turmoil.”
When reminded about the doubts raised by his family members about the inconsistencies in what they had been told about Loya’s death, Anuj claimed yesterday: “They had some suspicions because of emotional turmoil at that period. So right now even they are clear with it and even they don’t have any issues.”
Loya’s sister and Anuj’s aunt Anuradha Biyani, however, when asked whether she agreed with Anuj’s characterisation of her views, told an NDTV reporter: “I have nothing to say.” She had earlier told The Caravan that her brother had told her that Justice Mohit Shah had offered him a bribe of Rs 100 crore to give a favourable verdict in the Sohrabuddin case.
The December 2014 death of judge Loya – who was hearing the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was the prime accused – came under the scanner recently with his family members raising suspicions over the circumstances of his death. Statements by members of his family – particularly his father and sisters – even led to demands that there should be an inquiry. A demand which was reiterated by 81-year-old Shrinivas to The Caravan late on Sunday night: “If you ask me as a citizen, not as a relative. My view as a citizen is the inquiry initiated in the Supreme Court has to proceed.”
Shrinivas was referring to the petition for a probe into the late judge’s death – scheduled to be heard before the apex court on January 16.
Judge Loya had died of a heart attack in Nagpur – where he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter. Judge M.B. Gosavi, who subsequently took over the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and dropped all charges against BJP president Amit Shah within a month. The CBI has refused to appeal the discharge.
In a February 2015 letter, Anuj had demanded an investigation into the matter and expressed fear about threat to his family: “I fear these politicians can harm any person from my family. And I am also not powerful enough to fight with them… There is threat to our lives.”
Subsequently, on November 29, 2017, Anuj had written to the-then chief justice of the Bombay high court Manjula Chellur saying that the family had no suspicions about the circumstances of his father’s death. “The family had no doubts about the integrity of investigating agencies,” the Times of India had quoted his letter as stating.
Upon being asked the likely reason behind the change in Anuj’s stance now, Shrinivas suspected that “there might be pressure (on him).” “His grandfather is now 85 years. His mother is there. The daughter (of judge Loya), her marriage is there. All this could be (causing pressures).”
Advocate Balwant Jadhav, however, suspects the pressure to be of political in nature. Jadhav, a close friend judge Loya and his former colleague, told The Caravan: “I’ve known the entire family for decades. They are now silenced by political pressure to save Amit Shah.”
Jadhav added that it was “appalling” that the members of his family who had themselves raised doubts – ranging from presence of blood on his clothes to role played by an “RSS activist” in telling Loya’s family about the location of his body – have now “fallen silent since the story came out in press.”