The sister of the judge, who was presiding over the fake encounter case against the BJP President Amit Shah, has told a news website that the then Bombay High Court Chief Justice Mohit Shah allegedly made an offer of Rs 100 crore to her brother fabourable judgement.
Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya was hearing the fake encounter case against Amit Shah, who also had to serve time in jail before being released. Loya was later found dead in mysterious circumstances while attending a wedding in Nagpur between the night of 30 November and the early morning of 1 December 2014.
The Caravan website reported, “Among those I spoke to was one of Loya’s sisters, Anuradha Biyani, a medical doctor based in Dhule, Maharashtra. Biyani made an explosive claim to me: Loya, she said, confided to her that Mohit Shah, then the chief justice of the Bombay High Court, had offered him a bribe of Rs 100 crore in return for a favourable judgment. She said Loya had told her this some weeks before he died, when the family gathered for Diwali at their ancestral home in Gategaon. Loya’s father Harkishan also told me that his son had told him he had offers to deliver a favourable judgment in exchange for money and a house in Mumbai.”
The website, in its first part published on Monday had cast doubts on Loya’s death, which was described to be due to heart attack.
Brijgopal Harkishan Loya was appointed to the special CBI court in June 2014, after his predecessor, JT Utpat, was transferred within weeks of reprimanding Amit Shah for seeking an exemption from appearing in court.
A report published in Outlook in February 2015 had said, “During the CBI court’s hearings that Utpat presided over for this one year, or even after, court records suggest Amit Shah had never turned up even once—including on the final day of discharge. Shah’s counsel apparently made oral submissions for exempting him from personal appearance on grounds ranging from him being ‘a diabetic and hence unable to move’ to the more blase: ‘he is busy in Delhi.’”
“On June 6, 2014, Utpat had made his displeasure known to Shah’s counsel and, while allowing exemption for that day, ordered Shah’s presence on June 20. But he didn’t show up again. According to media reports, Utpat told Shah’s counsel, ‘Every time you are seeking exemption without giving any reason.’”
Utpat, the story noted, “fixed the next hearing for June 26. But on 25th, he was transferred to Pune.” This was in violation of a September 2012 Supreme Court order, that the Sohrabuddin trial “should be conducted from beginning to end by the same officer,” the Outlook report had added.
Anuradha Biyani also said to the Caravan journalist that that Mohit Shah told her brother that if “the judgment is delivered before 30 December, it won’t be under focus at all because at the same time, there was going to be another explosive story which would ensure that people would not take notice of this.”
She added that Loya confided in her that Mohit Shah, who served as the chief justice of the Bombay High Court between June 2010 and September 2015, offered Loya a bribe of Rs 100 crore for a favourable judgment. According to her, Mohit Shah “would call him late at night to meet in civil dress and pressure him to issue the judgment as soon as possible and to ensure that it is a positive judgment.” According to Biyani, “My brother was offered a bribe of 100 crore in return for a favourable judgment. Mohit Shah, the chief justice, made the offer himself.”
Loya’s father Harkishan also reportedly said that his son had confided in him about bribe offers. “Yes, he was offered money,” Harkishan said. “Do you want a house in Mumbai, how much land do you want, how much money do you want, he used to tell us this. This was an offer.” But, he added, his son refused to succumb to the offers. “He told me I am going to turn in my resignation or get a transfer,” Harkishan said. “I will move to my village and do farming.”
Nupur Balaprasad Biyani, a niece of Loya’s who stayed with his family in Mumbai while studying in the city, told the Caravan journalist about the extent of the pressure she witnessed her uncle facing. “When he was coming from the court, he was like, ‘bahut tension hai,’” she said. “Stress. It’s a very big case. How to deal with it. Everyone is involved with it.” Nupur said it was a question of “political values.”
The website claims that it contacted both Mohit Shah and Amit Shah for their responses to the family’s claims, but they did not respond at the time of publishing these stories.