SC to hear tomorrow pleas for probe in judge BH Loyas death

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Only three days ago on January 9, the Bombay Lawyers Association had also filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court, seeking a probe into Loya's death and pointing out a high-profile case of Gujarat he was handling at the time of his death.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Santana Gouder while describing the issue as a serious matter, asked the state government to file its reply by January 15.

B H Loya was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, and the Supreme Court sought response from Maharashtra government on pleas seeking an independent probe into it.

In the encounter case, the BJP President along with Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria, Rajasthan-based businessman Vimal Patni, former Gujarat police chief P C Pande, Additional Director General of Police Geeta Johri and Gujarat police officers Abhay Chudasama and N K Amin have already been discharged.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra agreed to hear the case on Friday after lawyer Anita Shenoy moved the top court at the plea of Maharashtra-based journalist, Bandhuraj Sambhaji. Lone contended that a fair probe was needed into the "mysterious death" of Loya.

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"We will not go by what the high court is doing".

The bench said it will look into the petitions but will also consider the objections raised.

The issue came to spotlight in November 2017 after media reports, quoting his sister, fuelled suspicion about his death. Senior advocate Dushyant Dave had said Loya's death had occurred in "extremely suspicious circumstances".

Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed in 2005 in an alleged fake encounter by a team of the Gujarat police, which claimed that he was a member of the Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist outfit. He died of cardiac arrest on December 1, 2014, according to hospital records, a day after he attended the wedding ceremony and reception of the daughter of fellow Judge Sapna Josh. The case was later transferred to the CBI and the trial was shifted to Mumbai.

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