April 19, 2018 / 6:28 AM / a month ago

India's top court rejects calls for probe into judge's death

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s Supreme Court dismissed on Thursday petitions calling for an investigation into the death of a lower court judge in 2014 when he was presiding over a case against a top political aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer representing the petitioner, speaks with the media after India's Supreme Court dismissed petitions calling for an investigation into the death of Judge B. Loya, a lower court judge, outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi, India April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Amit Shah, president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, had been accused of ordering extra judicial killings in 2005 while serving as home minister in the western state of Gujarat.

Shah was discharged by the judge who took over the case after the death of Judge B. Loya, having decided there was no case against the BJP president.

Judge Loya died from a heart attack, but family members questioned the circumstances, alleging that he had come under political pressure in the case. Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court seeking an independent probe after judges in a lower court had dismissed the need for a probe.

The Supreme Court decision to dismiss the petitions was taken by a three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

The judgement said there was “no reason to doubt the statements of sitting judges” and the intent of the petitioners had been to “malign the judiciary”.

Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Darren Schuettler and Michael Perry

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