Three Years After His Death, Family of Judge Presiding Over Sohrabuddin Trial Breaks Its Silence
November 21, 2017
In June 2014, Brijgopal Harkishan Loya was appointed the judge in the special CBI court in Mumbai. The court was hearing the Sohrabuddin case, in which the Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah was the prime accused. Loya died on the intervening night between 30 November and 1 December 2014. The media reported that the judge died of a heart attack. Loya’s family did not speak to the media after his death. In November 2016, Loya’s niece, Nupur Balaprasad Biyani, approached the journalist Niranjan Takle. Over several meetings between November 2016 and November 2017, Takle spoke to her mother, Anuradha Biyani, who is Loya’s sister and a medical doctor in government service; another of Loya’s sisters, Sarita Mandhane; and Loya’s father, Harkishan. From these accounts, deeply disturbing questions emerged about Loya’s death: questions about inconsistencies in the reported account of the death; about the procedures followed after the judge died; and about the condition of his body when it was handed over to the family. The family also described the pressures and inducements Loya faced while presiding over the Sohrabuddin trial. According to Biyani, Loya confided in her that Mohit Shah, then the chief justice of the Bombay High Court offered Loya “a bribe of 100 crore in return for a favourable judgement.” Though Loya’s family asked for an inquiry commission to probe his death, none was ever set up.