5 Reasons To Follow Caravan Magazine’s Stellar Probe Into Loya Death
Five deeply unsettling revelations made by the Caravan’s investigation into the judge’s death
The most disappointing aspect about Indian mainstream media—its most circulated newspapers and most watched news channels included—in recent times has been the almost blanket ban on stories that show the Narendra Modi dispensation in poor light. The mystery surrounding the death of judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya is a glaring example.
While the Delhi-based Caravan magazine’s stellar investigative journalism has revealed a new, but very sinister, dimension to the case, mainstream media has maintained a criminal silence not just by not acknowledging Caravan’s findings but by also refusing to do their bit in speaking truth to power.
In September 2017, Caravan carried a story linking Judge Loya’s “mysterious” death to a case involving the encounter of a noted criminal, Sohrabuddin, by the Gujarat police in 2005. Amit Shah, now BJP president, was the Gujarat’s home minister in 2005. When the 48-year-old judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya “died” in December 2014, Shah was the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national president. It was only two years after Loya’s death that his family chose to speak about it to the media. Between November 2016 and November 2017, a Caravan reporter met Loya’s niece, Nupur Balaprasad Biyani, who had concerns about the circumstances surrounding her uncle’s death. Over the next one year, Caravan also spoke to Biyani’s mother, Anuradha Biyani, who is Loya’s sister; another of Loya’s sisters, Sarita Mandhane; and Loya’s father, Harkishan. Caravan also spoke to government servants in Nagpur who witnessed the procedures followed with regard to the judge’s body after his death, including the post-mortem.
Here are five deeply unsettling revelations made by the Caravan’s investigation into the judge’s death:
1) Allegations that the Gujarat anti-terror squad killed Sohrabuddin in a “fake” encounter on Shah’s watch are old. What has now been alleged is that Judge Loya’s death, which occurred during the trial of the Sohrabuddin case of which Loya was the presiding judge, seemed suspicious and unnatural.
2) Judge Loya’s death has been certified as natural by two judges of the Bombay High Court (justices Sunil Shukre and Bhushan Gavai) as well as two district judges who were with Judge Loya in the hours just before and after his death. But Caravan in its latest issue has continued to call Judge Loya’s death suspicious, alleging that the post-mortem report was manipulated.
3) Caravan’s latest issue highlights the relation between Dr Makarand Vyawahare – who oversaw Loya’s post-mortem at the Government Medical College in Nagpur – and his brother-in-law Sudhir Mungantiwar who happens to be the current finance minister of Maharashtra.
4) According to employees interviewed by The Caravan at the medical college, Dr Vyawahare, who used to be usually late to reach work, arrived unusually early on the day Judge Loya’s corpse was brought in, indicating that he must have known beforehand. While Vyawahare, now a member of the Maharashtra Medical Council, is alleged to have instructed one Dr N. K. Tumram on what to write in the report, the final report was released in Tumram’s name and not Vyawahare’s.
5) Another crucial fact that the post-mortem report allegedly did not report was a wound “on the back of Loya’s head”. A family member who saw the dead body had observed “blood and an injury on his head … on the back side.”