Fmr Navy chief Ramdas files plea in SC for independent probe

Former Navy chief Admiral (retd) L Ramdas has filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking an independent inquiry by a panel of retired apex court judges and former police officers into the alleged mysterious death of special CBI judge B H Loya.

Loya, who was hearing the sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, had died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter. Some members of Loya's family had alleged foul play in his death.

BJP chief Amit Shah was one of the accused in the Sheikh encounter case in which he was later discharged.

The application, filed by Ramdas, has also sought a direction to the Centre to cooperate with the inquiry committee and provide the necessary documents.

He has sought an independent probe, saying the statements made by Loya's family members "have led to allegations of foul play coming to the surface" regarding the events that had transpired on the night he died.

"It is therefore just and necessary that an independent probe be directed to be made," the plea said.

It further said that "the silence of individuals who were present during the final hours of Loya's life coupled with institutional inaction to probe the circumstances of his death when it occurred in 2014 threatens these cherished ideals of independence of judiciary and the rule of law."

The plea said "a judicial probe" was needed in the case in order to uphold the image of judiciary and deliver justice to Loya's family.

It claimed that the death of a sitting judge hearing a sensitive case in an "unnatural manner" raises questions about the rule of law and requires to be properly probed by an independent agency.

The petition also sought permission that anyone who had evidence to establish the circumstances of Loya's death be allowed to appear before the multi-member panel and provide relevant information.

The plea has also raked up the issue of transfer of CBI Judge J T Utpat, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case before Loya was transferred to that court.

It has sought direction to the committee to probe into the reasons for the the "arbitrary transfer" of Utpat and submit a report to the court.

The issue of Loya's death had come under the spotlight in November last year after media reports quoting his sister had fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding it. But Loya's son had on January 14 this year said in Mumbai that his father died of natural causes.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is hearing the petitions which have sought probe into Loya's death.

The apex court had on January 22 restrained other high courts from entertaining any petition relating to Loya's death and transferred to itself the petitions pending before the Bombay High Court.

The matter is scheduled to come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on February 2.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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