New Delhi: Disagreeing with the Supreme Court verdict that rejected pleas seeking a probe into the death of judge B.H. Loya, the Congress on Thursday demanded a fair inquiry to address the “unanswered questions" and accused the Bharatiya Janat Party (BJP) of making “false political capital" by “misinterpreting" the apex court’s order.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi targeted BJP chief Amit Shah, saying “the truth has its own way of catching up with people like him". The opposition party said it was “unfortunate that the BJP is doing cheap politics even on the death of judge Loya" after the BJP alleged that the Congress chief was the “invisible hand" behind the petitions seeking the probe “the truth of Judge Loya’s death will one day positively come out after an independent inquiry monitored by Supreme Court," Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala told reporters, and wondered why those in power are “shying away from a probe" if they “agree it is a natural death".
“The prime minister should say that he will order a Supreme Court-monitored probe to ascertain the exact reasons for the death of judge Loya," he said. He claimed there is enough material that has not been placed before the Supreme Court and that can only come out through a fair investigation. “It is a sad letter day in India’s history. The suspicious circumstances in which Loya died was a matter of deep concern for those who have faith in the judiciary. The copy of the entire judgment is not yet available. But there are still questions before those who believe in the judiciary," Surjewala said in New Delhi.
He raised a set of 10 questions relating to the case and noted that issue of criminality can be decided only through a probe, contending that no investigation was done into the death of Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
Taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi said, “Indians are deeply intelligent. Most Indians, including those in the BJP, instinctively understand the truth about Mr Amit Shah. The truth has its own way of catching up with people like him."
Surjewala alleged that there is a question mark on the conduct of BJP government in Maharashtra and hinted at a “conspiracy" to not permit the entire evidence available with different sets of people including his fellow judges to be placed before an appropriate forum for investigation. He said the BJP’s charge against Rahul Gandhi was a “malicious attempt" that showed the ruling party’s “jitteriness" and “nervousness".
“In this background, the BJP’s attempt to make false political capital out of the Supreme Court judgment must be condemned with strongest possible words," he said, adding “We reject and condemn the malicious attempts of the BJP to misinterpret the judgement for finger pointing." He also said that the Congress is committed to people’s demand for a fair probe. “The people’s court is supreme in this country. We respect the judiciary. But we respectfully disagree with the conclusions arrived at. We believe there is material that was never placed before the Supreme Court. There is material that can only be examined in an investigation and not in a public interest litigation (PIL)," he said.
“We believe that the matter needs to be thoroughly investigated with all the evidence, with all the link chain evidence, with all the documents and discrepancies therein with all the over-writing that has been brought out so as to arrive at a just conclusion regarding the reasons for death of Judge Loya," he said.
“It is that innate commitment that makes us place all the apprehensions expressed so far by members of the family of Judge Loya, the Bar, jurists, judges, media and people at large, in public domain, once again," he said. Asked whether the Congress would move a review petition in the case, Surjewala said his party was not a petitioner seeking the probe into the judge’s death and recalled that the party had instead approached the “people’s court" and had met President Ram Nath Kovind along with 14 opposition parties.
“We sincerely wish that all these judges could have been heard in an appropriate enquiry monitored by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the truth would have come out. Hopefully, in an independent and in an impartial enquiry monitored by Hon’ble Supreme Court, the truth of Judge Loyas’ death one day will positively come out," he said.
Earlier Thursday, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the apex court’s verdict will raise more questions. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said there was no reason to doubt the statements of four judges on the circumstances leading to the judge’s death and the documents placed on record and their scrutiny established that the death was due to natural cause.
Loya had died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on 1 December 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter.