Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said media reports questioning the circumstances under which former Central Bureau of Investigation Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya died were “blatantly incorrect and imaginary”, the Hindustan Times reported. The judge’s death was natural, he claimed.
The chief minister, who made the remarks during a debate in the Assembly on law and order, claimed that even the judge’s relatives had said they did not suspect any foul play. “Judge Loya’s son addressed a press conference in Mumbai saying he did not buy the claims by a magazine that published the story first last year,” Fadnavis said. “He also had given a letter to the chief justice of the Bombay High Court. The story by the magazine was imaginary, blatantly incorrect and contradictory.”
The chief minister was referring to the story published by The Caravan in November, raising suspicions that Loya’s death was not natural. At the time of his death on December 1, 2014, Loya, who was a judge in a special CBI court, was handling the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case. Bharatiya Janata Party National President Amit Shah was an accused in the case, but was later acquitted.
Fadnavis claimed that forensic expert RK Sharma, who was formerly associated with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, had said that he was misquoted by the magazine. “In response to our mail, Sharma has said that he was grossly misquoted and the conclusions drawn were imaginary,” Fadnavis told the Assembly. “He said that he had a general discussion with the reporter but he never gave any report in the Loya case. This proves that the story was based on lies.” The chief minister alleged that the case was used for political gain and to defame his government.
Earlier, during the debate, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party raised questions about Loya’s death and called for an independent investigation. The Maharashtra government told the Supreme Court on March 16 that the demand for an inquiry into Loya’s death was not to protect the integrity of the judiciary, but to “keep the pot boiling”. It had earlier urged the court not to order an independent inquiry as it would “destroy the credibility” of the judiciary forever.
The Supreme Court has reserved its verdict on petitions seeking an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team.