Kapil Sibal charge  on Loya's death
Kapil Sibal charge  on Loya's death

Kapil Sibal charge  on Loya's death

S. Sivadas

S. Sivadas

The Congress leader, Kapil Sibal, has that three persons, including a retired judge, had met lawyer Prashant Bhushan around three weeks before judge B.H. Loya died in 2014 and sought help to ensure his safety.

Controversy surrounds the death of the judge who presided over an alleged fake encounter case in which the BJP leader, Amit Shah, was eventually discharged.

Sibal, a former law minister, added that Prakash Thombre, the retired district judge who was among the three who purportedly met Bhushan in November 2014, later fell to his death under mysterious circumstances. So did a Nagpur lawyer, Shrikant Khandalkar, who had also tried to help judge Loya.

Satish Uke, an activist-lawyer who was also among the three persons (the third was not named) who purportedly met Bhushan, escaped an accident at his office, Sibal said.

Asked about Sibal's claim that the three persons had met him Bhushan said: 'I don't have any recollection. But it is possible that I have forgotten.'

Sibal's statements were made at a news conference convened by the Congress to assert that the judge had desperately sought help from lawyers, activists and friends before he died.

Sibal said Thombre, Uke and another person met Bhushan to appeal to him to ensure Loya's safety. The meeting took place between November 4 and 9 in 2014. They returned without substantial help and Loya died on December 1.

Sibal said: 'Satish (Uke) and two more persons came to me in July 2017. They told me Loya was scared because of the case involving high-profile persons. I knew all this but kept it to myself so far because I was myself scared. I thought the time has come to reveal everything. They had met Prashant Bhushan in 2014 who felt the available material was not sufficient enough to move the court.'

Uke and another activist, Suryakant, were present at the conference along with Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Vivek Tankha and Randeep Surjewala. They made a power-point presentation to explain the case.

Sibal said: 'Khandalkar and Thombre approached Satish in October 2014 and said Loya was under pressure and wanted to get out of the high-profile case. The three spoke to Loya through video conference. Loya said he was being pressurised to discharge an accused and even a draft order was sent to him.'

Sibal claimed that they were in possession of the draft order. He added: 'The security provided to Loya was withdrawn in Mumbai from November 24....'

Sibal listed other mysterious deaths. 'Khandalkar later told Satish that he was getting threats. His body was found on the Nagpur court premises on November 29, 2015. He allegedly fell from the eighth floor. Thombre, too, complained of receiving threats and he died on May 16, 2016. He is said to have fallen from the upper berth of a train during a journey.'

He said Uke was threatened repeatedly. On June 8, 2016, a heavy iron pillar fell on his tin-shed office minutes after he had left, Sibal said.

Saying that they were not pointing fingers at anybody, Sibal added: 'The circumstances tell a story. Why was an FIR not filed when Loya's sister said Rs. 100 crore was offered to him? Why did the Maharashtra government conduct an informal probe and submit before the Supreme Court that there was no foul play? Who is being protected? Why there is so much opposition to an investigation?'

He said the Congress would go to every village and town to tell the story to the people if a fair probe was not announced.