As many as 470 members of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar have written to the Chief Justice of India and forwarded the representation to judges of the Supreme Court and the acting chief justice of the Bombay High Court seeking a probe into the death of former special CBI judge BH Loya, who was presiding over the Sohrabuddin trial.
As reported by the Hindustan Times, these lawyers are seeking a probe by either the Central Bureau of Investigation or some Special Investigation Team into Loya’s “mysterious death”.
So far, a criminal writ petition has been filed in the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, former Navy Chief Admiral L Ramadas has written to the CJI seeking a judicial inquiry and (retd) Justice BH Marlapalle has sought an SIT probe into the death.
“If the lives of judges who decide high-profile cases are not safe and it is alleged that they work under pressure and influence, the justice itself is not safe. The allegations coupled with the subsequent development are a serious blow to the confidence of laymen and also of the legal fraternity about the forum before which they plead their claim,” the letter stated.
In 2005, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat Police in Hyderabad. Thereafter, it has been alleged that both Sheikh and his wife were killed in a fake encounter. Also, Sohrabuddin’s aide Tulsiram Prajapati is also said to have been killed by the Gujarat Police in 2006. He is believed to have witnessed Sohrabuddin’s alleged fake encounter.
In 2012, the Supreme Court transferred the trial to Maharashtra and, in 2013, the Supreme Court clubbed Prajapati and Sohrabuddin cases.
At first, judge JT Utpat was hearing the case, but he was transferred abruptly after reprimanding accused Amit Shah for not appearing in court. After judge Utpat’s transfer in June 2014, judge BH Loya took over, but he died in November 2014.