Around 150 advocates of the 1,700-member Latur Bar Association took out a protest rally on Monday to demand immediate investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of Central Bureau of Investigation court judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya in December 2014.
Loya died around the time he was hearing a matter related to the allegedly staged encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh – a case in which Amit Shah, now the Bharatiya Janata Party national president, was an accused. Loya’s family has raised a number of questions about his death, as reported by The Caravan on November 20.
Monday’s rally began at the district court and ended at the collectorate, where a group of lawyers presented their demands to the district collector. “We demand that the government hold an immediate investigation into this,” said Balwant Jadhav, former chairperson of the Maharashtra and Goa Bar Association. A Shiv Sena member, Jadhav was also a close friend of Loya. “We are holding this rally not for one person, but for the independence of the entire judiciary,” he added.
“We felt even on the day of his funeral that Loya’s death was not natural,” said Uday Gaware, another lawyer from Latur and Loya’s classmate from law college. “We salute him for not abandoning his honesty even when faced with death.”
Apart from the advocates, around 15 members of the Aam Aadmi Party were also present at the rally. They held placards raising different questions about the judge’s death.
While as a CBI judge Loya was posted in Mumbai, he was from Latur district and had studied law in Latur city. According to lawyers at the rally, years after he had been transferred out of the city, Loya continued to maintain cordial relations with the bar association.
This rally comes on a day when two Bombay High Court judges – Bhushan Gavai and Sunil Shukre – who were at the hospital when Loya was declared dead in 2014, told The Indian Express that there was nothing questionable or suspicious about the circumstances around his death.
The demand for an investigation into Loya’s death has gathered support from many circles. Retired Bombay High Court judge BH Marlapalle and former Delhi High Court Chief Justice AP Shah have sought an inquiry.