Political slugfest erupts over SC’s Loya verdict

New Delhi: A political slugfest erupted on Thursday over Supreme Court’s verdict dismissing petitions seeking a SIT probe into the death of Judge B.H. Loya, with the BJP accusing Congress chief Rahul Gandhi as the “invisible hand” behind the pleas for “character assasination” of its chief Amit Shah while Gandhi attacked Shah, saying truth has its own way of catching up with people like him.

Soon after the court verdict, senior BJP leaders including Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Ravi Shankar Prasad alleging that the pleas were a conspiracy by the Congress and its President to finish the political career of Shah.

Addressing a press conference, Prasad said: “This was not a PIL. Basically, it was filed to promote the interest of Congress. It was filed to cause damage to Amit Shah in particular.”

He said that Gandhi conspired to target Shah as it believes that only one family had a right to rule the country. “It was a conspiracy by the Congress and Gandhi to finish the political career of Shah,” Prasad said, adding: “The biggest tragedy of the proceedings was that to settle political scores, even the judicial authorities and judges were sought to be scandalised.”

Prasad also demanded that Gandhi apologise over the issue.

Rajnath Singh took to Twitter to attack Congress, saying that the judiciary has sent a message that it cannot be misled by allegations based on political vendetta.

“It is extremely unfortunate that there have been several attempts of targeting the BJP and assassinating the character of its top leaders on the basis of ‘fake facts’. These attempts have failed miserably once again,” he said, adding that the apex court has not only rejected the PIL pertaining to Justice Loya’s death but also raised serious questions on the intention of filing such PILs.

BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra said the “invisible hand” behind the petition was of the Congress and its President Rahul Gandhi and they should apologise to the country for defaming the judiciary.

“Who held a press conference on January 12, 2018? Who led 100 leaders before President over the issue? It was Rahul Gandhi. It will be true to say the invisible hand, the invisible body that the Supreme Court is talking about… is none other than Rahul Gandhi and the Congress,” he said.

Holding that there was absolutely no merit in the petition, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said Judge Loya had met a natural death.

Gandhi also took to Twitter to respond to BJP’s charges.

“Indians are deeply intelligent. Most Indians, including those in the BJP, instinctively understand the truth about Mr Amit Shah. The truth has its own way of catching up with people like him,” he said.

His party meanwhile rejected the “natural death” theory of judge Loya and said it was a “sad letter day” in India’s history and reiterated its demand for a “fair” investigation.

“Today is a ‘Sad Letter Day’ in India’s history. Congress is committed to people’s demand for a fair investigation in the matter surrounding Judge Loya’s death,” said Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala, holding that not even judiciary can decide whether a death is natural or not without an investigation.

He also said it was “intriguing” that Prasad had a copy of the Supreme Court judgment in the controversial death case when even lawyers or media did not have it and the court website had crashed.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) dubbed as “unfortunate” the court’s verdict and demanded that the case be heard by a larger bench of the apex court.

“The Supreme Court’s rejection of all petitions demanding an independent probe into the death of Judge Loya and holding such petitions as ‘scandalous’ by a three-member Bench is unfortunate,” the party, whose 22nd Congress is in session in Hyderabad, said in a statement.