Death of Judge Loya: Occupancy register with details of judge’s stay at Ravi Bhavan manipulated, prominent lawyer alleges

By ATUL DEV | 23 December 2017

The lawyer Milind Pakhale has filed a police complaint stating that an entry he made in the occupancy register at Ravi Bhavan, a government-run VIP guest house in Nagpur, has been manipulated. Pakhale is a prominent public figure, and is the convener of the Khairlanji Action Committee, formed after the 2006 massacre of Dalits in Khairlanji, Maharashtra. The judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, who died suddenly on the night intervening between 30 November and 1 December 2014 while on a visit to Nagpur, is reported to have been staying at Ravi Bhavan on his final night. Pakhale’s entry in the occupancy register appears just before two other entries that relate directly to Loya’s stay.

At the time of his death, Loya was presiding over the trial in the allegedly staged encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, in which Amit Shah, the current president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, was the main person accused. In reports published by The Caravan, numerous family members and associates of the late judge have raised questions regarding the circumstances of his death, and said that Loya reported attempts to influence his judgment in the Sohrabuddin case, including by Mohit Shah, then the chief justice of the Bombay High Court.

Pakhale filed the complaint on 20 December 2017 at Sadar police station in Nagpur. He has also sent a copy of the complaint to the executive engineer of the Public Works Department in Nagpur, which runs Ravi Bhavan. Nagpur police confirmed receipt of the complaint when contacted by The Caravan. The executive engineer told The Caravan that he had not been able to look into the issue because the state assembly was in session, and would only be able to get to it after Christmas.

The police complaint states, “Somebody has manipulated government records in relation to the grave incident that occurred on 30.11.2014 and with the purpose of erasing evidence of my registration this document was corrupted and a bogus document was prepared and that was used.” Pakhale writes that he made the entry in question in 2014, in his own handwriting, but the same entry in the register now shows arrival and departure dates from 2017, in a different handwriting. He makes it clear in the complaint that the rest of the entry, beyond the arrival and departure dates, remains in his own hand. “I am filing this complaint to demand an immediate inquiry against the officer and the employees responsible for this manipulation,” Pakhale adds.

This considerably strengthens the case for an independent probe into Loya’s mysterious death. Family members, associates and former colleagues of the late judge have issued calls for such a probe, as have prominent retired judges, government bureaucrats and military officers.

A report published by The Caravan on 21 December 2017 detailed numerous inconsistencies in the various accounts of Loya’s final night that have been made public so far. It also noted possible signs of manipulation in records that pertain to the circumstances of his death, including the occupancy register at Ravi Bhavan. The pages of the register examined by The Caravan were made available by the Public Works Department in response to a Right to Information request filed by Suraj Lolage, a Nagpur-based lawyer. (Lolage has also filed a PIL regarding the Loya case with the Nagpur branch of the Bombay High Court.) The report noted three unexplained blank entries in the register immediately preceding two entries directly related to Loya’s stay, and noted the arrival and departure dates from 2017 for an entry above these. The report also noted that the field for the guest’s particulars in that entry reads “Babasaheb Ambedkar Milind ______,” with the last name illegible, and that the reporters could not at the time determine whom this entry referred to.

This is the entry that Milind Pakhale has now come forward to say was made by him, and has since been manipulated. Pakhale’s police complaint states that he wrote the entry on 30 November 2014 to sign in Prakash Ambedkar, popularly known as Balasaheb Ambedkar, a former member of parliament and the grandson of BR Ambedkar. According to Pakhale, Ambedkar stays at Ravi Bhavan whenever he is in Nagpur.

“I have frequently heard of the grave incident concerning Ravi Bhavan that occurred on 30-11-2014. On the same [day], on 30-11-2014, I had registered a room for my MP Shri Balasaheb Ambedkar in the guesthouse register,” the police complaint reads. “After Respected Balasaheb Ambedkar arrived at Ravi Bhavan on 30-11-2014, I had written with my own hand that the room was taken under his possession.” Pakhale states that in a copy he had procured of the relevant page of the register, “it appears that the check-in time has been recorded as 1.38 pm on 30-11-17 and checkout time has been recorded as 30-11-17 under my registration in the guesthouse register. I had registered in the guesthouse register on 30-11-2014, not on 30-11-2017. The aforementioned date 30.11.17 as it is written (the date 30.11.17) is not in my handwriting.” Pakhale does not claim that any part of his entry other than the dates has been altered.

When contacted by The Caravan, Pakhale stood by all his statements in the complaint. He added, “By no imagination one can write the date in 2014 as [20]17.” The Caravan also contacted Prakash Ambedkar, who confirmed that he frequently stays at Ravi Bhavan when in Nagpur, and that his associates, including Pakhale, handle the required booking and registration procedures on his behalf.

How an entry for a stay in 2014 could have come to show a date from 2017 remains unclear. It is highly unlikely that anyone in 2014 would, in good faith, enter a date three years in the future in an occupancy register. In this instance, there two instances of such unlikely dating—in both the check-in and check-out dates. By way of comparison, the chances of someone twice mistaking the year for 2020 when filling in a register at a hotel or guesthouse today are very slim.

Other discrepancies in the register raise further questions over the possible manipulation of the document. In response to the RTI request, the Public Works Department released copies of 26 pages of the Ravi Bhawan occupancy register. None of these show a single blank entry—as would be expected in such a register, filled in sequentially, as all such registers are at hotels and guest houses, and used to record only the occupancy of accommodation, and not bookings and no-shows. The only blank entries in the 26 issued pages of the register appear on page 45, which includes Pakhale’s entry, and page 46, which includes entries for the two suites where Loya could have stayed while in Nagpur, where he had travelled with judicial colleagues to attend the wedding of the daughter of a fellow judge.

These are suites 10 and 20, registered, respectively, under the names of S Kulkarni and Smt Phansalkar-Joshi. The register identifies Kulkarni as a registrar of the Bombay High Court; in November 2014, a judge named Shrikant Kulkarni held that designation. The register identifies Phansalkar-Joshi as the registrar general of the Bombay High Court; a judge named Shalini Shashank Phansalkar-Joshi is today a justice of the Bombay High Court. In the entry under Kulkarni’s name, the date of arrival shown is “30-11-14,” or 30 November 2014. Inspecting the entry closely, however, it appears that this date was earlier recorded as “30-12-14”—or 30 December 2014, a full month after Loya’s stay and death—before the “12” was written over to make it “11.”

Atul Dev is a staff writer at The Caravan. 

READER'S COMMENTS

8 thoughts on “Death of Judge Loya: Occupancy register with details of judge’s stay at Ravi Bhavan manipulated, prominent lawyer alleges”

Great work Caravan. Keep it up. Its great that Milind Pakhale has come forward to support the manipulation allegations. This needs to be pursed with vigour. The balded evil with a beard is very dangerous.

Balasaheb Ambedkar is a completely honest person and had no hand in the nefarious dealings of the Judges. Manuvadi media is trying to drag his name into this sordid affair for no reason.
Why are the pimps who supply the girls to Ravi Bhavan not being questioned? They are in cahoots with the staff and have better knowledge of who was staying where and with whom and what type of scandalous activities were occurring. Why can’t these corrupt people stay at the Radisson instead of getting subsidised accommodation despite not being on official duty?
Judges are booking rooms for friends who are not on official business but just coming for wedding or other social occasion. This is highly improper. CAG should calculate notional loss to exchequer to be not less that 30,000 crores. Some S.C. Minister should be sent to jail on this basis. That is the secret agenda of Manuvadi Media.

Mr. Modi and his people are killing all those who are against him. He has killed most of the prominent Congress leaders and many media people. In Mr. Modi’s governance freedom of speed has vanished. This has been done in Ahmedabad and around the country. He has kept the Supreme Court, the media and all the Heads of various dept. in his pocket. They all dance to his tunes. The Godhra incident is a clear example of this. They delayed the verdict when the opposition was handling this case. Though Mr. Amit Shah and other were culprits, they have been given clean chit, that too, in Mr. Modi’s reign. Most of the cases where BJP was culprit, have been cleared by the Supreme Court which clearly shows that the Supreme Court is in his pocket.

They never allowed the Congress Govt. to pass any bills when in opposition. Now when the situation is vice-versa they blame the opposition. Mr. Modi says that his Government is protecting the minorities. Then why does he keep mum when Muslims and Christains are killed in the name of cow slaughter. Why does he not react instantly, in all other things he has instant answers? Mr. Modi should first learn to do what he says / promises. Please come to the ground levels and see what is happening. Except for roads and bridges on all the cross roads, nothing has been done. This is not what the people want. They want price reduction. He has made gas cylinders available to the nation but does he know whether they can afford it or not The same cylinder which used to cost around Rs.400/- earlier is not around Rs.600/-? First pay the heavy price and then get subsidy. People have to go without food till they wait / collect money for the cylinder. This is called Mr. Modi’s ACCHE DIN.

He has promised a house for everyone. I have applied for the same as I do not have a house and stay on rent as on date. I had even received a call from the housing people stating that they would come and meet with prior intimation. As on date I am still awaiting their call and visit. All the schemes by Mr. Modi are for the benefit of BJP people. He promises online election cards for citizens. I filed my name for the same and till date the registration shows pending. It has not been forwarded to the BPO. On enquiry I was asked to contact the area representative who in turn asked me to contact the collector’s office. The collector’s office in turn told that a notice will be issued as to when process of new election cards will start. Hence I could not vote this election of Ahmedabad. This is called Mr. Modi’s DIGITALIZATION.

There are many more things to be said. Mr. Modi tell your people to go to the ground level and please stop making false commitments which you cannot fulfill.

At the end I would like to say :
MR. MODI IS THE BIGGEST CULPRIT BEHIND THE SCREEN.

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