At the time of his death, judge Loya was hearing a controversial case involving alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife and an associate. Photo: Twitter
At the time of his death, judge Loya was hearing a controversial case involving alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife and an associate. Photo: Twitter

A news magazine has alleged that the post-mortem report into the death of judge BH Loya, who was hearing a controversial case involing Bhartiya Janata Party President Amit Shah, had been “manipulated” by a senior doctor to hide a “crucial” head injury.

The magazine based the report on a “two-month investigation” and interviews with 14 unnamed “current and former employees” of the hospital where the post-mortem took place.

Caravan magazine claimed that Dr Makarand Vyawahare, then a lecturer in the forensic-medicine department at the Government Medical College (GMC) in Nagpur, failed to mention an alleged head injury to judge Loya in his post-mortem report. Dr Vyawahare “dictated what details were included in and excluded from Loya’s post-mortem report,” the magazine claimed. The official post-mortem report said judge Loya died due to cardiac arrest.

“The fifth employee told me there was an injury on Loya’s head, on the back, towards the right side,” the writer of the magazine story claimed. The injury was of “the kind that is there when a stone hits and the skin tears,” she wrote. The employee claimed the wound was deep enough for blood to have gushed out of it, so much so that the “cloth that was covering him [Loya] was soaked with blood towards the head…it was completely red,” the story said.

The report quoted another employee saying “they must have manipulated the post-mortem report later.”

The report has added to speculation around the death of judge Loya, who served in a court in the Central Bureau of Investigation. At the time of his death in December 2014, he was hearing a controversial case involving alleged staged encounter killings of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife and his associate by the Gujarat police.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state at the time and Amit Shah, the current president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, was the state’s home minister. Shah was an accused in the case, but he was eventually acquitted by a special CBI court. A total of 23 people are still facing trial in the case.

In November 2017, the magazine published a report alleging that judge Loya died in mysterious circumstances and that his family had been seeking a probe ever since. In January, the Supreme Court of India admitted pleas seeking a probe into judge Loya’s death, calling it a “serious matter.”

Three days before the first hearing of the case, the four most senior judges of the apex court held an unprecedented press conference to express unhappiness over the way the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, was allocating cases. One of the judges cited the Loya case as an example.

In another report, the magazine spoke with the former head of the department of forensic medicine and toxicology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, Dr RK Sharma, who said that an analysis of Loya’s post-mortem report indicated “some kind of an assault on the brain.”

The magazine claimed that Dr Vyawahare’s involvement was a “revelation” as his name had not appeared in the post-mortem report, or in court documents submitted in the ongoing case. Official records say judge Loya’s post-mortem was conducted by Dr NK Tumram, a lecturer at GMC’s forensic-medicine department.

Dr Vyawahare is the brother-in-law of Sudhir Mungantiwar, the finance minister in BJP-ruled Maharashtra, the state where the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case was transferred to in 2012. He is also a member of the Maharashtra Medical Council, a supervisory body for all medical practitioners in the state.

Speaking with the magazine, Dr Vyawahare denied playing any role in the post-mortem. “I don’t have any role only…I didn’t even go into that case,” he said.

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