Recently, The Caravan published a story of the mysterious death of a Mumbai judge who was presiding over the case of the Soharabuddin fake encounter. Amit Shah, the BJP president, was the main accused in this case along with other senior police officials.
The case had been transferred to Mumbai after the intervention of the Supreme Court (SC). The CBI had also filed a chargesheet before the CBI special court regarding the matter.
Justice Brijgopal Harkishan Loya had asked Amit Shah’s counsel to ensure that Amit Shah was personally present in the court, but he never appeared despite the court’s repeated orders.
In December, 2014, the judge was found dead in Nagpur, where he went to attend a marriage ceremony on the suggestion of two fellow judges. The two judges disappeared from the scene after his death.
His body was sent for post-mortem in the absence of his beloved ones. It was then received by an unknown person who claimed to be a cousin of the deceased Justice Loya, according to the post-mortem report. According to Loya’s sister, Justice Loya had no cousin. Loya’s body was then sent to his ancestral home instead of his real residence in Mumbai, where his wife and children resides. His body was carried by a ambulance with no person except the driver. The person who received his body has also disappeared from the scene. Justice Loya’s mobile phone was returned to his sister by a local RSS worker four days after his demise.
There are protocols that should be followed in these cases – none of which were, in this case. Not even a police officer visited the home of Justice Loya.
Sohrabuddin Sheikh was allegedly abducted by the Gujrat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) from Hyderabad (in present-day Telangana) along with his wife Kausar Bi. After three days (on November 23, 2005), the police alleged that he had been killed in encounter at Vishala Circle near Ahemadabad.
The incident was hidden until a journalist of Dainik Bhaskar, Prashant Dayal, reported it in November 2006 – one year after that allegedly staged encounter. Sohrabuddin’s brother filed a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The SC has ordered an investigation in the matter.
After the order of the apex court, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the state government was formed to investigate the matter. Two senior IPS officers, Geetha Johry and Rajnish Kumar Rai, headed the SIT. In April 2007, more than 10 police officials, including three IPS officers DG Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian (of the Gujarat cadre) and MN Dinesh (of the Rajasthan cadre), were arrested in connection with the fake encounter.
In July 2010, Amit Shah, then an MLA, was arrested.
There have been many more other developments in the case. The investigation was handed over to the CBI and the case was transferred outside Gujrat to Maharashtra. A chargesheet was filed against all the accused, including Amit Shah.
Now, however, Amit Shah is the president of the ruling party in the BJP. On the other hand, the judge of the CBI special court, Justice Loya, who had asked why Amit Shah was not appearing in the court, died under mysterious circumstances on December 1, 2014, in Nagpur. The new judge who was appointed for the hearing, discharged Amit Shah, saying that he was politically framed in the matter – within just 20 days of his appointment.
The sister of the deceased judge alleged that Mohit Shah, the then Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, had tried to lure Loya for ₹100 crore for a favorable decision in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.
The investigating officer of the SIT, Rajnish Kumar Rai, who had arrested three other Senior IPS Officers in connection with the Soharabuddin case, was transferred out of the state. A few years down the line, he became an IGP of the CRPF, North East Region, Assam. Recently, he has claimed that a staged encounter had been carried out by a joint team of Indian Army, CRPF, SSB, RPSF, and the Assam State Police in March 2017. He had sent a detailed report – but instead of initiating an inquiry and taking action, he was transferred to a CRPF centre in Andhra Pradesh.