In a sensational disclosure just two days ahead of the Supreme Court bench hearing in the petitions on the mysterious death of Mumbai CBI judge Brijgopal H Loya, the main opposition Congress on Wednesday alleged that the judge was under considerable pressure to acquit BJP chief Amit Shah in the 2005 encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife and an aide in Gujarat.Demanding an independent probe, the party narrated frantic efforts made by the judge to get out of the case, seeking help from lawyers, activists and friends. They pointed out that Nagpur lawyer Shrikant Khandalkar and retired district judge Prakash Thombre, who had tried to help Loya, also died under mysterious circumstances while a third Nagpur activist, lawyer Satish Uke, escaped a deadly accident at his office.The bombshell was dropped at the Congress press conference by MP and senior advocate Kapil Sibal. He said Satish Uke, Thombre and one another person came to Delhi and met him and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan between November 4 and 9 in 2014 to plead for Loya’s safety. They returned without any help and Loya died soon thereafter on December 1. “They told me Loya was scared because of the case involving high-profile persons. I knew all this, but kept it to myself. I thought the time has come to reveal everything. They met Prashant Bhushan also, who felt the available material was not sufficient enough to move the court,” Sibal said.Advocate Uke and another activist Suryakant were also present at the Congress press conference along with three other party lawyers — former law minister Salman Khurshid, AICC legal cell chairman and MP Vivek Tankha and Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala.Still more sensational was Sibal’s claim that there is no record of Loya traveling to Nagpur by train for the wedding nor any entry of judge Loya or judge Modak in occupancy register of Ravi Bhawan where they were supposed to have stayed. He circulated a photocopy of the register and noted that after Loya’s death, post mortem conducted by one Dr Tumram without consent of family members is also objectionable.He said: “Khandalkar in whom the judge had confided later told Satish that he was getting threats. His body was found on Nagpur court premises on November 29, 2015. He allegedly fell from eighth floor. Thombre too complained of receiving threats and he died on May 16, 2016. He is said to have fallen down from the upper berth of a train during a journey. Satish was threatened repeatedly and on June 8, 2016, an iron weighing 500 tonnes fell on his tin-shed office minutes after he left.”Reeling out discrepancies in the records, advocate Satish Uke said: “The doctor who conducted Loya’s post mortem at 10.50 am also conducted two more post mortems at 10.10 am. A post-mortem takes at least 40 minutes. How can two be done at the same time. This shows records have been manipulated. The post-mortem report mentions rigor mortis only on nails while the viscera report says rigor mortis well marked. The viscera sent for examination might not be Loya’s.”A petition seeking an investigation in judge Loya’s death kicked off a judicial storm when it was delegated to a relatively junior judge in the Supreme Court. At an unprecedented press conference held on January 12, four senior most apex court bared their anguish at the alleged breach of institutional integrity by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.At the press conference, Justice Ranjan Gogoi had strongly hinted that the allocation of the petition seeking an independent inquiry in the judge’s death to a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra was the immediate catalyst for the press conference.The bid by CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury to call for an impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra seems to have reached a dead end. While senior Congress leaders had earlier said that the party is open to the idea and will discuss it with other Opposition parties, it has not openly backed the idea. For an impeachment motion to be passed, it will need to be backed by 50 Rajya Sabha MPs and 100 Lok Sabha MPs. And with the Opposition not having the majority in the lower house, a senior Congress leader said that it looks unlikely in the Budget session. Sources also said that while Congress leaders like Kapil Sibal are open to the idea, others like P Chidambaram and Salman Khurshid are opposed to it at this point.Record TamperingSibal circulated a photocopy of the Ravi Bhavan register and noted that after Loya’s death, post-mortem conducted by one Dr Tumram without the consent of family, was also objectionable.

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Kapil Sibal claims Loya came to him to be taken off case