The Judge Loya case has turned into one of the biggest political flashpoints in the recent past. One might ask why a death, which has been repeatedly called natural by people close to the judge, would create such a controversy. The conspiracy theories about the death, which is said to be a cardiac arrest, and the reasons to perhaps paint it as a murder, stem from the fact that Judge Loya was presiding over the CBI court in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh ‘fake encounter’ case. Of course, for the opposition, this is the perfect recipe for a juicy controversy that gives them the opportunity to attack the Modi-Shah duo.
It started with the left-leaning magazine, Caravan, raising questions on the death of Judge Loya. The article in the Caravan extensively quoted some members of the Judge Loya’s family, who were said be suspicious of the circumstances surrounding his death.
Soon, in response to the constant media focus on the so-called mysterious death of Judge Loya, his son Anuj Loya called a press conference where he clarified that maybe the suspicion arose due to initial shock and now they have no concerns about the circumstances surrounding Judge Loya’s death. He also revealed that NGOs, politicians, and activists were hounding his ailing mother and requested them to leave his family alone.
Later, Anuradha Biyani the sister of Judge Loya, whose statement according to Times Now formed the basis of the allegations of foul play in Judge Loya’s death, questioned the report published in Caravan magazine.
Even after all these clarifications and requests, the political opposition, and the lackeys who claim to politically neutral, persisted. Two days ago, Congress went ahead and held a press conference, demanding a probe.
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 31, 2018
In the events mentioned in the Press Conference held by Kapil Sibal, one name that features prominently in the entire sequence of events, is that of Satish Uke, who was introduced as an Activist, Lawyer and an expert in Medical matters. In all the allegations made by the Congress in the press conference, Uke is a central character, on whom many of the assertions rest.
There is interestingly, another name that comes up in the press conference, but only as someone present at the press conference, and is referred to by only his first name. That of one Mr. Suryakant, an RTI activist from Nagpur.
I learned that Mr. Suryakant, who was present at the press conference, is Mr. Suryakant Lolage, which is evident when one goes through the plea in Bombay HC that seeks probe into the death of Judge Loya.
I decided to look further to find out who Mr. Satish Uke and Mr Suryakant Lolage really were, considering the entire conspiracy theory detailed by Congress hinged on statements by Mr. Uke. Though Mr. Lolage was present too during the conference, not much information was presented about him by the Congress party.
During the press conference, Mr. Uke not only claimed that Judge Loya had approached him to tell him that he (Judge Loya) was under pressure to pass discharge offers, he went on to talk about death of another advocate who died ‘mysteriously’ (falling from 8th floor in court premises) and who too had allegedly told Uke about pressure he was facing. Congress press release gives details of these claims made by Mr. Uke, who further claims that death of another judge – who died while traveling in a train – too was ‘suspicious’.
So who is this Mr. Satish Uke, who by his own claims was in touch with almost everyone who was under pressure and who subsequently died ‘mysteriously’?
Satish Uke :
Advocate Satish Uke’s exploits include being held guilty of gross contempt of court only last year. The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court had held advocate Satish Uke guilty of criminal contempt and directed him to forfeit Rs.1 lakh of the Rs. 2 lakh he had deposited as security, along with charges for video recording of proceedings.
Interestingly, this was covered by the the mainstream media as well. It is strange how thus far, the media has failed to dig into his past. After being held for contempt, the cops had failed to trace and arrest Satish Uke for 4 months. He was allegedly absconding. The High Court recorded that Satish Uke was in the habit of making frivolous, vexatious, and reckless allegations against everyone including judges of the High Court.
In its judgement, the court observed that Uke had instituted “frivolous and vexatious” proceedings against the judges and officers of the court, thereby committing “an act of abuse of process” and “contempt of court“. The court also said that he had made statements which he “knew and believed to be false, so as to browbeat this Court“.
Further, the court observed that he had made “wild, intemperate, unfounded, unwarranted and irresponsible allegations scandalizing the Court“:
The court also remarked that he had also tried to obstruct administration of justice. The High Court charged him, “You, Satish Mahadeorao Uke, have misconducted yourself and indulged in activities prejudicial to the course of judicial proceedings and interfering and obstructing the administration of justice.”
It is pertinent to mention that Mr. Uke had also filed an election petition against Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, claiming that the latter had not mentioned criminal cases against himself in his nomination form. Court dismissed the petition in 2015. The High Court of Maharashtra, by a detailed speaking order, held Mr. Uke guilty of contempt and directed 2 months jail term to him.
The Supreme Court dismissed the challenge of Uke by the following order:
The Supreme Court, thus, rejected Uke’s special leave petition challenging the High Court’s order which had censored him for tendency of wasting precious judicial time on the basis of “half-baked knowledge of law“.
Suryakant Lolage :
The case of Suryakant Lolage aka Suraj Lolage, who also shared the dais with Kapil Sibal is even more intriguing. Records indicate that he could be an habitual offender who has been charged with the most heinous of crimes including murder, rape, cheating, assault on public servant, instigating suicide, riots, dacoity, etc.
A summary of cases filed against Suryakant Lolage is given below, unless there is another Suryakant Lolage with similar details who has nothing to do with the Suryakant Lolage who filed the petition in Loya case:
It is evident, that not only Satish Uke – the person on whom the entire conspiracy theory peddled by Congress hinges – but also the petitioner in Bombay High Court in the case of Judge Loya’s dath, has sketchy and questionable past to say the least.
Several questions arise from the facts presented by Kapil Sibal in the press conference. Firstly, and fundamentally, why would a Judge of Loya’s standing approach a sketchy “activist” like Uke for any sort of assistance? Secondly, was Mr. Suryakant’s last name left out from the presser so people wouldn’t dig further and discover his questionable past? And thirdly; especially after the news of Congress contemplating moving an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India, and the fiasco it created during the mutiny of 4 senior judges, why is Congress trying to subvert the judiciary in the most seemingly sinister manner?
When one attempts to tarnish the highest institution of the country, the players chosen should at least have impeccable credentials themselves. While dragging the judiciary down through the mud for ones petty political games is shameful, perhaps doing so with players who have no credibility themselves, is worse. While the facts of the case, or the lack thereof, are for the court of law to decide, Congress can’t possibly come out of this looking victorious
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017