The Supreme Court on Friday called the death of CBI Special Court and Additional Sessions Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya a “serious issue” and asked the Maharashtra government to produce all documents related to the case.
A division bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice M.M. Shantanagoudar asked the Maharashtra government to file a reply and documents by January 15, the next date of hearing.
The court was hearing two separate pleas seeking an independent probe into the death of judge Loya, who presided over the case in connection with the alleged staged encounter of suspected extortionist Sohrabuddin Sheikh.
The two pleas were filed by Maharashtra-based journalist B.R. Lone and Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the Bombay Lawyers Association, told the bench that the Bombay High Court was seized of the matter and the bench should not hear the plea.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for journalist Lone, also said that matter should not be heard by the apex court. The bench said it would consider the objections.
Judge Loya died of heart attack on December 1, 2014 while on a visit to Nagpur, where he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter.
At that time, he was handling the sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh case in which Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah was one of the accused (but later discharged), besides top Gujarat Police officers.
Lone contended that a fair probe was needed into the “mysterious death” of Loya.
In his plea, Poonawala contended that the circumstances around the death of the judge were questionable and mysterious.
The issue came to spotlight in November 2017 after media reports, quoting his sister, fuelled suspicion about his death.
The case with major political overtones pertains to the killing of suspected gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi and their associate Tulsidas Prajapati in Gujarat in November 2005.
The case was later transferred to the CBI and the trial was shifted to Mumbai.
On January 8 last year, the Bombay Lawyers Association had filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay High Court seeking a probe into Loya’s death.