The Mumbai Police on Tuesday detained seven of nine activists who were protesting at the Bombay High Court premises to demand an investigation into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Central Bureau of Investigation judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya. While eight of the nine activists were from Mumbai, one had come from Pune for the protest.
The activists started their protest around 11.30 am and were detained at 1 pm. All of them were released later in the evening. One of them said they were detained because they were all wearing t-shirts with identical lettering that said, “Who killed Judge Loya?”.
The police, however, denied detaining any activist on Tuesday.
Loya had died when 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 president, was an accused. Some of Loya’s family members raised a number of questions about his death, as reported by the Caravan on November 20.
However, on November 29, Loya’s son reportedly told the Bombay High Court that the family has no complaints or suspicions about the circumstances of his father’s death.
“When this news [of doubts about the death of Judge Loya] broke on Caravan magazine in November, I went to protest at JB Nagar Metro station,” said Ashok Pai, 53, a commercial magazine publisher who has also been an activist with a governance watchdog organisation for 15 years. “After I put this on Facebook, people started to support me.”
This is the second time the police have detained Pai and others for raising the issue. On December 7, Pai and four others were detained at Churchgate station when they were on their way to the Bombay High Court.
Since the Caravan report, Pai has held at least five protests. The initial ones were small, attended only by at most two people. Tuesday’s protest had more number of people, with supporters connecting with Pai over Facebook.
This is Pai’s first political protest, he said. “This is a different protest for me,” Pai said. “I had done protests for roads and potholes before. But everybody knows there is something fishy in this case.”
While Caravan’s first article alleged mysterious circumstances in Loya’s final hours, its second article alleged that Loya had been offered a bribe of Rs 100 crore by the sitting chief justice of the Bombay High Court.