New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed petitions seeking an independent probe into the death of special CBI Judge BH Loya.
The apex court, ruling that the death was due to “natural causes”, observed that the petitioners tried to scandalise the judiciary.
"These petitions are scandalous and amount to criminal contempt," the court said adding, "We can't doubt the statements of the judicial officers who were with Judge Loya."
"Attempt of the petitioners was to malign the judiciary," SC said while dismissing petitions seeking independent probe into Judge BH Loya's death case.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, pronounced its verdict after hearing a clutch of petitions.
At the time of his death, Judge BH Loya was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
Medical records show Judge BH Loya died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had on March 16 reserved the judgement on the pleas.
The Maharashtra government had argued in the apex court that all pleas seeking an independent probe into Loya's death were motivated and aimed at targeting "one individual" in the guise of upholding the rule of law.
It had come down heavily on alleged accusations, bullying of judges in the top court by some activist lawyers in the Loya case and said that the judiciary and judicial officers need to be saved from such averments.
Meanwhile, those seeking an independent probe into the matter had referred to the sequence of events to highlight that a fair investigation was needed to rule out any foul play in the death.
The issue of Loya's death had come under spotlight in November 2017 after media reports quoting his sister had fuelled suspicion about the circumstances surrounding it and its link to the Sohrabuddin case. But Loya's son had on January 14 said in Mumbai that his father had died of natural causes.
In the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, BJP President Amit Shah along with Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria, Rajasthan-based businessman Vimal Patni, former Gujarat police chief P C Pande, Additional Director General of Police Geeta Johri and Gujarat police officers Abhay Chudasama and N K Amin have already been discharged.
Several accused, including police personnel, are currently facing trial for their involvement in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and their associate Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat in November 2005.
The case was later transferred to CBI and the trial shifted to Mumbai.
A batch of pleas, including those filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala and Maharashtra-based B S Lone, was filed in the top court seeking an independent probe into Loya's death in 2014.
Four senior-most apex court judges -- Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph -- at their January 12 press conference had questioned the manner in which sensitive cases were being allocated and Loya's case was one of them.
(With inputs from PTI)...