Speaking at a book launch on 23 November, the BJP leader and Lok Sabha MP Shatrughan Sinha spoke out about the atmosphere prevailing in the country today. Referring to a comment made by the Communist Party of India leader D Raja during the event, Sinha said, “Raja was saying that intellectuals and journalists are being killed. Judges are also getting killed. You will not report in newspapers. Even if you report, it may not appear. Money power is overpowering people’s power.”
Sinha was speaking at the launch of Bharat Ke Rajneta, a book by the Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar.
Sinha’s comment came three days after The Caravan published a series of reports by the journalist Niranjan Takle, on the disturbing allegationssurrounding the death of the judge BH Loya. At the time of this death, Loya was presiding over one of the most high-profile cases in the country: the allegedly fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, in 2005, in which the BJP president Amit Shah was an accused.
Other political leaders present at the event were the Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury and the Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav.
Earlier in the day, the politburo of the CPI (M) released a statement demanding a high-level judicial inquiry into Loya’s death. Takle’s reports, the statement said, “have raised disturbing questions of murder, bribery, subversion of law and the manipulation of institutions of our parliamentary democracy at the highest level.” According to The Hindu, the Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, described the allegations raised by Loya’s family as “very serious, and, even if partially true, very worrisome.” But when asked if he believed there should be a probe into the matter, Singhvi only said, “Your question whether there should be a probe is certainly a correct one.”
Earlier this week, The Caravan published a series of reports by the Takle, on the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of the 48-year-old judge Loya, in Nagpur, on the intervening night between 30 November and 1 December 2014. The reports recount the family’s suspicions regarding the cause of the judge’s death, and the pressure he faced before he died.
According to Anuradha Biyani, Loya’s sister, the judge confided in her that Mohit Shah, the chief justice of the Bombay High Court at the time, offered Loya a bribe. “My brother was offered a bribe of 100 crore in return for a favourable judgment. Mohit Shah, the chief justice, made the offer himself,” Biyani said. She further said that Shah “would pressure him to issue the judgement as soon as possible,” but that Loya refused. “When the judgment is needed I will deliver it,” Biyani said Loya told her. “And I will deliver a truthful judgment.”