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June 03, 2024
Killing Justice
3. The Mothership

In This Episode

Ravi travels to Nagpur himself to try to find answers. He visits the headquarters of a powerful organization that looms over Judge Loya’s death, and goes to meet a shadowy figure who may have been responsible for how Judge Loya’s postmortem was conducted.

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TRANSCRIPT

 

 

Ravi Gupta: During my time in India, I got around. I traveled to Mumbai, Nashik, Delhi, Banaras, Ballia, tracing the reporting around Judge Loya’s death. I even got to drive through the countryside to my dad’s ancestral town of Sahatwar. But there was one more city I needed to visit, Nagpur. Nagpur was the most important stop in my reporting journey. It’s a city that holds central prominence in our mystery. It’s where so many of the key events in this story took place, most notably Judge Loya’s death. My producer Raksha and I arrived there on a Sunday. 

 

[clip of Raksha Kumar] It’s a very interesting city, and it’s smack bang in the middle of the country. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] And what it like, what’s interesting to me. My favorite topic is traffic, of course, and this place– 

 

[clip of Raksha Kumar] [laughing] We’ve established that. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] This place is not too bad. 

 

[clip of Raksha Kumar] It is not too bad. 

 

Ravi Gupta: We had plans to retrace Loya’s path during the last hours of his life. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] Thank you. 

 

Ravi Gupta: We started at the guest house where he stayed, where he was allegedly having chest pains. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] So we’re here at Ravi Bhavan, and it’s like a quiet, I would say, beautiful housing facility for government employees. 

 

Ravi Gupta: We visited both hospitals he was taken to in the hours before and after he died. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] So we’re outside Meditrina hospital. This is the second hospital that Judge Loya came to. 

 

Ravi Gupta: But there was another reason Nagpur is so significant. Nagpur is the birthplace and headquarters of an organization that has loomed over our story from day one. It’s called the RSS, which stands for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and it’s pretty opaque to outsiders. Our producer, Raksha Kumar, has reported on Hindu nationalism, and in this episode, she’s going to help us talk through it. 

 

Raksha Kumar: The RSS believes in Hindu rationalism, the idea that India is a land primarily for Hindus, an organization that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah owe much of their success to. 

 

Ravi Gupta: One way to understand Hindu nationalism is to look at other religious nationalist movements. Take the Christian nationalists of the far right in the United States. They believe that they need to take back the nation for God by imposing and legislating Christian values. 

 

[clip of Lauren Boebert] The church is supposed to direct the government, the government is not supposed to direct–

 

Ravi Gupta: But as we’ll get to, this is an incomplete comparison. The force of Hindu nationalism in India is much more powerful than anything we currently have in the US. 

 

Raksha Kumar: Hindu nationalist believe that to be truly Indian, you adopt Hindu culture and follow the Hindu religion. They believe this despite the fact that over 20% of Indians are Muslim, Christian, Sikh, or another religious minority. 

 

Ravi Gupta: You can’t understand Hindu nationalism without understanding the RSS. I was told repeatedly that getting to know the RSS was vital to understanding Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s place in Indian politics, and the significance of Loya’s death in today’s India. The RSS came up time and time again in our interviews, in passing remarks. 

 

[clip of Niranjan Takle] In the foundation of RSS. 

 

[clip of Geeta Shesu] The RSS. 

 

[clip of Shamsul Islam] An RSS opponent–

 

[clip of Vivek] The RSS. 

 

Ravi Gupta: For example, in the first article about Judge Loya’s death, his sister Dr. Biyani alleged that the man who returned the judge’s wiped cell phone to the family was an RSS member. And another Caravan story alleged that the owner of the first hospital where Loya was treated had connections to the RSS. At first I had no idea what they were talking about. It was murky. Hard to know how important or relevant it all was. Membership in the RSS seemed to be presented as an accusation, a shorthand for some larger innuendo that wasn’t always stated directly. So I wanted to know, why did this group keep coming up? And what was the implication that I was missing? It became clear that I had to deep dive into the secretive organization and find out for myself who they are. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] Okay, so we are we are we are approaching the RSS headquarters, and it is as secure as any building, even probably more so than even the Supreme Court. 

 

Ravi Gupta: I’m Ravi Gupta, and this is Killing Justice, episode three. The Mothership. [music break] Throughout my time in Delhi and Nagpur, the RSS has repeatedly opened doors for me in a way they don’t often for outsiders or even some members of the Indian press. I can’t know for sure why I was welcomed, but I suspect my name didn’t hurt. Despite being mixed, I have a distinctly Hindu name. I owe my first name to sheer luck and my parents compromise. They had three kids and agreed that each of our names would reflect a different part of our heritage. My older brother Yuri got the Slavic name, my sister Natalie got the American name, and I got the Indian name. Ravi in Hindi means the sun, but it’s the Gupta part that may have helped me the most. I didn’t fully appreciate this until I went to India, but family names carry a lot of significance. Last names are closely tied to caste and class, even different regions of the country. Gupta is most often associated with the merchant class, which is fitting given that my grandfather was a cloth merchant. Often when I told someone in India my name, they would repeat it back to me as if to make sure that this light skinned Yankee is truly Ravi Gupta. Then they would nod with approval. This happened all the time. With taxi drivers, hotel staff, and RSS members alike. It was kind of awesome because it was a new thing for me. I grew up in Staten Island where my name wasn’t exactly an asset, but here I was in India, where my name seemed to be opening doors. Whether because of my name or not, I got to tour an RSS headquarters and training facility, and I was invited to see how the RSS functions at the grassroots level. Depending on who you ask, the RSS is either a paramilitary group or a social club, or both, or neither. So one February evening we drove down to a playground past a lake in South Nagpur to observe an RSS Shakha. The word Shakha is literally translated as branch, as in a local branch of an organization. Over the course of a typical weekday evening, there are programs for members of all ages. We got to watch the program for young boys. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] So right now, the uh, the kids are lining up and the and the sort of teenager who’s a little bit older is facing them, almost like a drill sergeant. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Boys. Only boys join the organization when they’re as young as six. They have a separate group for girls. [sounds of children playing] And the RSS believes in catching them young, boys are taught military discipline and Hindu scripture. [clip of call and response between RSS member and young boys] I spent a chunk of my 20s and 30s as a middle school principal, and I have to say, it’s hard to get kids that age to do anything. And here they were, hanging on every word, moving in sync, tripping over themselves to follow orders. I was impressed. [sound of kids talking] At the Shakha we attended, about 20 boys, teenage or slightly younger, lined up to pray to an orange flag, the RSS flag. 

 

[clip of Raksha Kumar] So they’re going to be praying now, so we will need to station ourselves in one place. [clip of people praying begins]

 

Ravi Gupta: Our guide told us that after the opening prayer, the boys would play games, while fireworks from a nearby wedding party punctuate the evening air. 

 

[clip of unnamed RSS guide] After that, there will always be five to ten minutes, which for means you can say, well, food for thought. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] And that’s what was happening in the circle over here? 

 

[clip of unnamed RSS guide] Yeah, right. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] Okay. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Every night at around the same time, 72,000 similar scenes take place in playgrounds and community centers around the country. And that’s just the Shakhas. I come to find out that the RSS is much, much more than what we saw at that playground. 

 

Raksha Kumar: You can think of it as a massive tree with myriad branches. 

 

Ravi Gupta: That’s our producer, Raksha again. 

 

Raksha Kumar: It includes dozens of networks and operates on almost every level. Programs for kids, trade unions, business organizations, policy think tanks. And it has a political party, the BJP. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Remember, the BJP is Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s political party. I wanted to know how all of these organizations and leaders fit together. So I reached out to Dhirendra Jha. He’s a journalist and researcher who’s written extensively about Hindu nationalism and the RSS. 

 

[clip of Dhirendra Jha] So RSS is the mothership. The RSS is a kind of hydra headed body, and each and every outfit of the RSS has the same objective to turn India into a Hindu nation. 

 

Ravi Gupta: It’s hard to imagine anything comparable in the US. It’s almost as if the Republican Party, the Evangelical church, and the YMCA fuzed into one organization with members receiving paramilitary training. Think riflery and martial arts. Even then, the scale wouldn’t approach what the RSS has built over the past 100 or so years. 

 

[clip of Dhirendra Jha] Well, RSS emerged in 1925, in Nagpur. 

 

Ravi Gupta: The RSS formed at a dramatic time in Indian history, just a few years before Gandhi started the non-cooperation movement. That brought millions of Indians into the nonviolent resistance to British rule, including my grandfather. Gandhi believed the entire subcontinent, all religions and castes needed to unite for independence. But his views weren’t universally embraced. Many of India’s Muslims aligned with the Muslim League party, which later formed Pakistan with the 1947 partition of India. The split of India and Pakistan would result in one of the largest mass migrations in world history. At least 15 million people were displaced and around a half a million were killed. Here’s journalist Dhirendra Jha again. 

 

[clip of Dhirendra Jha] Once a debate on the partition of India started gaining ground, a kind of insecurity spread among Hindus as well as Muslims. RSS started occupying the imagination of those Hindus who were feeling insecure. 

 

Ravi Gupta: The RSS’s vision of a Hindu nation was a comfort to some Hindus at that turbulent time, but it also took inspiration from a dangerous place. The man who’s known as the main architect of the RSS, MS Golwalkar, wrote a book in 1939 that came to be known as the RSS Bible. It was called We or Our Nationhood Defined. And it contains an infamous passage that writes glowingly of the Nazis. 

 

[clip of Dhirendra Jha] In that book, Golwalkar clearly says that we should learn from how Nazis are treating their minorities, jews, and we should use that formula to deal with minorities in India. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Both Golwalkar and the RSS later disowned the book. But Dhirendra Jha argues that the book’s ideas remain at the center of the RSS’s ideology. The RSS’s message of a Hindu nation stood in stark contrast to Gandhi’s vision of a secular democracy that could be home to anyone on the subcontinent. 

 

[clip of Dhirendra Jha] So that was the clash. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Two ideas of India pitted against each other, and the RSS was never shy about its opposition to Gandhi. Tragically, that opposition became violent. On January 30th, 1948, a man with connections to the RSS named Nathuram Godse murdered Gandhi. 

 

[clip of Gaumont British news reporter] The hand of an assassin ended the life of a great man who sacrificed all in the cause of brotherhood and peace among his people. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Like so much around this mysterious organization, the assassin Godse’s exact connections to the RSS have been disputed. The RSS argues that Godse had already left the organization when he murdered Gandhi, but Dhirendra Jha belives based on his own scholarship that that’s not true. 

 

[clip of Dhirendra Jha] He never left RSS. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Whether or not Gandhi’s killer was an RSS member. After the assassination, the organization was briefly banned. The ban was only lifted after the RSS agreed to renounce violence and secrecy. 

 

[clip of Dhirendra Jha] After that, RSS kept itself low. RSS claimed to stay away from politics. 

 

Ravi Gupta: That didn’t last. Over many decades, the RSS slowly expanded, launching offshoots, including a political party that would come to be known as the BJP. The RSS never escaped its reputation among its critics for violence, especially against Muslims. The organization is secretive. There are no public rules of its members, and critics rarely found direct evidence tying the organization to violent episodes. But there were a few exceptions. Here’s our producer Raksha again. 

 

Raksha Kumar: Take the tragedy of the Babri Mosque. 

 

Ravi Gupta: The Babri Mosque was a 16th century structure in the city of Ayodhya in the north of India. 

 

Raksha Kumar: Many Hindus believed that the site of the mosque was the birthplace of the deity Rama, and that a Hindu temple had been there before the mosque. 

 

Ravi Gupta: The BJP built a movement to construct a Hindu temple in place of the mosque. And over years, the tension rose. Until 1992, when a large group of Hindu nationalists demolished the mosque. 

 

Raksha Kumar: This event triggered widespread religious riots across India and 2000 people reportedly died. The demolition and its aftermath were pivotal moments in India’s history. They reshaped Hindu-Muslim relations and have shaped political discourse ever since. 

 

[clip from Flashback Ayodhya: The Most Comprehensive Video of the Babri Masjid Demolition, 1992] You still cannot escape the fact that in no time was India’s secular fabric so badly strained. Soon, the event itself may pass into history, but we still have to deal with the scars it has left behind. 

 

Ravi Gupta: And evidence suggests that the demolition was not just a spontaneous act by an uncontrollable mob, but a planned event. 

 

[clip of unnamed NDTV reporter] Good evening. Welcome to this–

 

Raksha Kumar: A High Court judge named M.S. Liberhan led a commission that spent 17 years investigating the destruction of the Babri mosque. In 2009, he released a report. 

 

[clip of unnamed NDTV reporter] Finally, he says, there’s a clear architect for the demolition, a demolition that he believes was premeditated and planned. And that architect is the RSS, whom he calls the author of the demolition. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Regardless of the commission’s findings, it did nothing to change the appetite for a new Hindu temple on the site. When Raksha and I visited the RSS headquarters earlier this year, a big 3D model of a newly constructed Hindu temple was on display in the hallway. This was the long sought replacement for the Babri Mosque. In fact, Prime Minister Modi had triumphantly inaugurated the temple just weeks before my tour of the RSS headquarters. [clip of Narenda Modi speaking in Hindi plays] And today the RSS’s idea of India is ascended, because the leaders of the country, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are RSS men. 

 

Raksha Kumar: Several decades ago, as young men in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah would have bowed down to the RSS flag at a Shakha, just like the one we witnessed in Nagpur. They came up in the RSS and now they run the country. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Journalist Dhirendra Jha again. 

 

[clip of Dhirendra Jha] It is Modi and Amit Shah who are calling the shot and RSS, at the moment is playing as B-team of BJP, which essentially means they all are working for the same project, the project of Hindurashtra, the project to ostracize Muslims. So the orientation is same, objective is same. 

 

Ravi Gupta: The RSS calls itself the world’s largest voluntary organization with membership of more than five million people. Combine that with an incredibly popular prime minister leading the BJP, India’s richest political party, and given an absolute majority in the Indian parliament. That’s an unprecedented right wing juggernaut in modern India. Together, Modi and Shah gave the RSS what it always sought. The power on a national scale to transform India into their vision of a truly Hindu nation. Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with Judge Loya. 

 

Raksha Kumar: Judge Loya would probably have never crossed paths with the RSS BJP juggernaut directly if it were not for the Sohrabuddin Shah case, the case he was overseeing at the time of his death. 

 

Ravi Gupta: To remind you, back in 2010, Amit Shah was charged by the CBI, India’s central crime investigation agency, of conspiring with 17 others to allegedly execute a gangster named Sohrabuddin Sheikh. Shah was later discharged. But at the time, Modi was chief minister of Gujarat. Sort of like a governor, and Shah was home minister of the state, which included oversight of law and order. 

 

Raksha Kumar: The killing at the center of the case was one of many that occurred under the watch of Modi and Shah. So, in fact, even now, after 15 odd years, the Supreme Court is hearing the case of 24 police killings in Gujarat between 2002 and 2006. And for years, no one was held accountable. So critics saw a right wing juggernaut acting with impunity in Gujarat. 

 

Ravi Gupta: But the Sohrabuddin case was transferred out of Gujarat. And when that happened, there was a perception that this impunity could be checked. 

 

Raksha Kumar: And this is where Judge Loya came in. He was in the unenviable position to have to deliver a verdict on the second most powerful politician in India, in an incredibly polarized environment. 

 

Ravi Gupta: What I’ve come to understand is that the Loya case is an Indian equivalent of a political Rorschach test. Broadly, many of those who believe that India should be a Hindu nation believe that the Sohrabuddin case is a political witch hunt. And many of those who still believe in Gandhi’s pluralistic, secular India believe that Amit Shah was guilty of the charges brought against him. That he ordered Sohrabuddin to be killed. But unlike so many other polarizing subjects in politics, with Judge Loya’s death, there is a right answer. Loya either died of natural causes or he didn’t. And I wanted to know which was true. After the break, I tracked down a doctor who allegedly directed Judge Loya’s postmortem. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] I was just getting a very hostile vibe from the get go. There’s like a gaggle of men in front who are asking me a lot of questions about what I was after. [music break]

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Ravi Gupta: While Raksha and I were in Nagpur, we visited each of the three hospitals Judge Loya went to on the night of his death. According to most accounts, Judge Loya was taken to a small clinic called Dande Hospital. Then he was moved to a larger facility called Meditrina Hospital. He arrived at the third facility, the Government Medical College, after he died. And that’s where his autopsy was performed. You don’t need to keep track of these names, but in case you’re wondering why we spent so much time in the car, that’s why. The hope was that we could speak to anyone who knew anything about what happened, and to try to piece together the muddled account told by a series of medical documents that were published in the flurry of reporting after Niranjan Takle broke this story. Judge Loya’s postmortem was perhaps the most important of these medical documents. The post mortem was the main report generated from Loya’s autopsy. Niranjan found the postmortem during his reporting, and it was the source of several intriguing inconsistencies that he wrote about in his first article for the Caravan. If you remember, Loya’s sister Dr. Biyani said that when the family received her brother’s body, she noticed that there was blood on his clothes. [clip of Dr. Biyani speaking in Marathi] And she noticed that his face was disfigured. Another one of Judge Loya’s sisters confirmed Dr. Biyani’s observations to Niranjan as well. But the postmortem didn’t list any injuries to Judge Loya’s head, and the report said that his clothes were dry. It didn’t note a single bloodstain. These were alarming inconsistencies. And Niranjan’s reporting opened the door for other Caravan journalists to continue digging. 

 

[clip of Nikita Saxena] We, no one knew what kind of stories we were going to get. When I was asked to go out on the field. 

 

Ravi Gupta: This is Nikita Saxena. She now works as an independent journalist. But back in 2017, when Niranjan’s stories on Loya were published, she was a staffer at the Caravan. She was part of a new, younger generation of reporters who grabbed the baton from Niranjan. We first interviewed her over Zoom, but I had a chance to meet her in Delhi over rice, beers and pani puri. She struck me as the kind of hard nosed journalist you might have met in a different era, replete with the smoking habit and a skill for asking far more questions than she answers. She was direct, poking fun at me for being a picky eater, and she essentially forced me to drink some awful rice beer that I tried to avoid. But Nikita also kept her cards close. In our interview she seemed careful not to draw conclusions from the reporting she had done. 

 

[clip of Nikita Saxena] It’s not possible for us at this stage to conclusively say that something happened, what was possible within the ambits of reporting, do say that there are some things here that are not adding up, and actually, it’s not some things, there are a lot of things here that are not adding up. 

 

Ravi Gupta: In 2018, she ended up publishing five follow ups to the Loya story, one of her investigations look closely at a mysterious figure, the doctor, who, according to her reporting, allegedly supervised Judge Loya’s postmortem. 

 

[clip of Nikita Saxena] He was a senior doctor in the forensic department of the Government Medical College in Nagpur, which is where Judge Loya’s postmortem was conducted. 

 

Ravi Gupta: His name is Dr. Makarand Vyawahare. 

 

[clip of Nikita Saxena] So Dr. Vyawahare’s name did not feature in the postmortem report. But according to eyewitness testimony, he was present in the room. 

 

Ravi Gupta: When Nikita says Dr. Vyawahare’s name wasn’t in the postmortem. She means that he’s not the doctor who actually performed the procedure. That doctor’s name is on the medical forms, but Nikita says some of the sources she spoke with told her that Vyawahare had led the operation and dictated to other, more junior doctors what to actually record in the report. Essentially, if Nikita’s sources are right, he was operating in a system where he allegedly had total control with no paper trail. 

 

[clip of Nikita Saxena] Now, according to the eyewitness testimony that we’ve quoted in the report, Dr. Vyawahare was quite tense that morning. We were told that he, you know, usually tended to take a cigarette break in the designated smoking area maybe once every 45 minutes or so. But that day, according to the eyewitness testimony, he was smoking a cigarette almost every 15 minutes. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Nikita spent two months working on this story and was able to speak to 14 different employees at the Government Medical college where Dr. Vyawahare worked. All of these employees spoke to Nikita anonymously out of fear of reprisal. Some of those employees told Nikita they were present for Judge Loya’s postmortem. 

 

[clip of Nikita Saxena] And over multiple interviews, two different interviews. I was told that there was an injury on Loya’s head, and when a junior doctor pointed out to him that there was an injury Judge Loya’s head, he sort of dismissed that observation. And that observation we do know did not finally make it to the postmortem report. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Nikita reported in her story that, quote, “there was a concerted effort to conceal any observations that could raise suspicions regarding the cause of Loya’s death.” And she reported that Vyawahare led the cover up during the postmortem examination. When Nikita saw comment from Dr. Vyawahare in her story, he denied any involvement in Loya’s postmortem. But it turns out Dr. Vyawahare had a history of altering post-mortems. According to news reports, in 2015, the Government Medical College investigated allegations that Dr. Vyawahare had altered 17 other postmortem reports. This came after hundreds of doctors in training held protests against Doctor Vyawahare’s behavior towards students. The students alleged he was a serial harasser. An accusation Vyawahare denied. According to the Caravan story, Nikita’s sources described Dr. Vyawahare rushing through some post-mortems without checking for fractures or requesting changes to injury descriptions that could impact cause of death determinations. We weren’t able to review the GMC’s investigation report on Vyawahare’s alleged ethical breaches. But Nikita told us she looked at it while reporting the story. 

 

[clip of Nikita Saxena] Well the allegation read that the department head doctor, MS Vyawahare, though he is not present in person during the postmortem, compels one to forcibly make changes in the postmortem report and, if this is not done, holds verbal abuses in front of everybody, close quote. And the committee’s findings in this matter were that this is true. 

 

Ravi Gupta: She also quoted multiple employees who brought up doctor Vyawahare’s political connections. According to several news reports, his brother in law was a former high ranking BJP official. Nikita quoted a senior doctor who went unnamed in her report. He told her that some doctors treat postmortem documentations like a business. There’s a benefit to making even just a small change on a report. He went on to say that Vyawahare is also politically connected and that doctors with those connections are a little more likely to tweak a report. Despite student pressure, Dr. Vyawahare was not fired. He was simply transferred to a different government hospital. These revelations had the potential to explode the official narrative. So much of the government’s account of Loya’s death hinged on the postmortem Dr. Vyawahare produced, and here Nikita is saying she had sources allege that Vyawahare improperly influenced Judge Loya’s postmortem report. And since we had gone all the way to Nagpur, I knew we had to meet him.  [clip of Raksha speaking in background fades in] I found out where Dr. Vyawahare was currently working. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] Um. So we’re on our way over to the Indira Gandhi GMC to see Vyawahare. Uh and another doctor–

 

Ravi Gupta: This is where I’d love to brag about my chops as an intrepid reporter, but I’ve got to be honest, I was scared shitless as I approached that facility, largely because of the guy’s reputation. I immediately felt like everyone was watching me because they were. Perhaps because I was so clearly an outsider. A gaggle of young men were standing by the entrance and immediately went to block my approach. I talked my way inside, playing the dumb American act. 

 

[clip of Raksha Kumar] We have to wait because he’s on the phone.

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] Oh, yeah. [?]. 

 

Ravi Gupta: And he basically shouted us out of his office and we shuffled back to our taxi. 

 

[clip of Raksha Kumar] So if–

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] He does not want to talk about that case. 

 

[clip of Raksha Kumar] That is true. 

 

Ravi Gupta: Raksha and I debriefed in the car right after we left the hospital. In Dr. Vyawahare’s office we asked him about the Caravan’s reporting that he allegedly directed Judge Loya’s postmortem and he denied it. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] Nikita’s reporting seems to suggest that he was in the room basically telling everybody what to do. 

 

[clip of Raksha Kumar] I mean, he says he wasn’t. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] Like, that feels weird to me that he wouldn’t own up to being there at all. You know, if that’s the case, like either, so one of two things is true. Either Caravan has a conspiracy to make things up against him. Uh. That also happened to be very much in line with things other people have said about him in other contexts. Uh. Or, uh he’s lying. So those are those are the two. Those are the two options. 

 

Ravi Gupta: It’s still a strange denial to me now, something that if you believe Nikita’s sources, seems like such a clear lie, it’s hard to know what to make of a potential lie like this. It doesn’t mean that he’s in on a conspiracy. It could just be that he’s compelled to obscure the bad behavior he’d been investigated for. I don’t know, but the onus should be on the people in power to explain themselves. People like Vyawahare and those who appointed him. [music break] While reporting this story, I’ve been told many times a variation of anything can happen in India. That idea was in the back of my head throughout my time in Nagpur. Since the country was founded, the RSS has worked in the shadows to advance its goals of manifesting a country primarily for Hindus. Knowing that helps me understand some of the conspiratorial thinking I’ve come across. But the fact that the organization is now in the halls of power, it matters who controls the country’s institutions. And if you suspect a militant, secretive group is pulling the strings. Then I can begin to understand the fear around this case. You add to that the idea that someone like Dr. Vyawahare, who sources say has close ties to an influential member of the ruling party, was in a position to influence the most important piece of evidence in the case. The combination of these facts was starting to convince me that, at the very least, a much more thorough and official investigation into Loya’s death was in order. Perhaps something nefarious did occur. But to believe that, I need more. Next time, Raksha and I continue to retrace Judge Loya’s final hours. 

 

[clip of Ravi Gupta] Um.So what did you think of that conversation? 

 

[clip of Raksha Kumar] So many things. My God. Oh my God. 

 

Ravi Gupta: And we meet a journalist who has a different view of the case. 

 

[clip of Vivek] This is stupid. You have to go by facts. [music break]

 

Ravi Gupta: Killing Justice is an original podcast from Crooked Media and the Branch Media. I’m your host, Ravi Gupta. Our executive producers are me Ravi Gupta, Katie Long, Ben Rhodes, and Alison Falzetta. With special thanks to Sarah Geismer, Madeleine Haeringer, and Kate Malekoff. Our senior producer is Khrista Rypl, and Lacy Roberts is our story editor. Raksha Kumar is our consulting producer. Our associate producer is Sydney Rapp. Fact checking by Amy Tardif. Sound design and mixing by Sarah Gibble-Laska, with assistant editing by Nathalie Escudero. And original score by Karim Douaidy. 

 

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