Shrinivas Loya, the 81-year-old paternal uncle of the special CBI judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, has said that the judge’s son Anuj Loya is “too young” and likely “under pressure,” after the 21-year-old addressed a press conference in Mumbai on Sunday, 14 January. Anuj claimed in the press conference that there was “no doubt in family” that his father had died a natural death.
Shrinivas, speaking to The Caravan magazine late Sunday night, also said he wanted an inquiry into the death of the judge, who purportedly died of a heart attack in Nagpur, in December 2014.
When asked why Anuj, who appeared in the video recordings of the Mumbai press conference to be referring to a written statement on his lap, would have told the press what he did, Shrinivas said: “Now what should I say. Is he adult enough? He’s just crossed 18. There might be pressure [on him.]”
The advocate Ameet Naik, who accompanied Anuj at the press conference, Shrinivas said “himself was saying that the boy is young and there were pressures He added: “If his [Anuj’s earlier] view is to be considered, it was to have an inquiry.”
Shrinivas reiterated that “an inquiry has to be there.” “If you ask me as a citizen, not as a relative. My view as a citizen is the inquiry initiated in the Supreme Court has to proceed. This is my personal view as a citizen,” he said, referring to the petition for a probe into Judge Loya’s death, which is scheduled to be heard before a Supreme Court bench headed by the judge Arun Mishra on January 16.
When asked who could be pressuring the family, Shrinivas said: “His [Anuj’s] grandfather is now 85 years. His mother is there. The daughter [of Judge Loya], her marriage is there. All this could be there [causing pressures].”
Shrinivas, who lives in Latur, said he wasn’t aware where Judge Loya’s family is staying at the moment.
The advocate Balwant Jadhav, a close friend of thelate judge and his former colleague in the legal profession from Latur, told The Caravan he was sure it was political pressure. “I’ve known the entire family for decades. They are now silenced by political pressure to save Amit Shah.”
At the time of his death, Judge Loya was presiding over the case concering the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, in which the BJP national president Amit Shah, then minister of state for home in Gujarat, was an accused.
Jadhav added that not only the death of judge, but all the events leading up to the death in December 2014 needed to be looked into thoroughly by a Supreme Court appointed and monitored inquiry. “It is appalling that the family members, who had doubts about Judge Loya’s death, have fallen silent since the story came out in press,” Jadhav said.
The advocate also drew attention to the fact that Anuj’s interaction with the media came within a few days of a press conference held in Delhi by four of the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court. The judges had raised concerns that the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, was flouting convention by assigning sensitive cases to junior judges.
Anosh Malekar is an award-winning journalist based in Pune, who prefers traveling in rural India and writing about people living on the margins of society. He has worked with publications such as The WEEK and the Indian Express.