CBI takes over 2 FIRs in Dhanbad judge death case
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken over two cases filed by the Jharkhand Police to investigate the theft of an auto-rickshaw and three mobile phones linked with the alleged killing of Dhanbad additional sessions judge Uttam Anand on July 28.
People aware of the developments said that the agency has re-registered two First Information Reports (FIRs) -- in theft cases filed on July 29 and August 13 -- to ascertain if there is any link between the crimes and the death of the judge. A 20-member special investigation team (SIT) of the federal agency is probing several angles, including larger conspiracy in the suspicious death for which Rahul Verma and Lakhan Verma have been arrested as the principal accused.
The Supreme Court and the Jharkhand high court took suo motu cognisance of the hit-and-run incident in which the judge was killed after CCTV footage showed a three-wheeler swerving on an empty road to knock him down as he was jogging.
The auto-rickshaw, which was stolen from Dhanbad, was later recovered from the neighbouring Giridih district that night.
According to the July 29 FIR, Sugani Devi, 44, stated that her auto-rickshaw with registration number JH10R-0461 was stolen on July 17 by unknown persons. The same vehicle was used, allegedly by the two accused, to deliberately hit the judge.
The second case, registered by Jharkhand police August 13, pertains to the theft of three mobile phones belonging to Purendu Vishwakarma stolen by accused Rahul Verma on July 27-28 night. Vishwakarma said in his complaint that since the phones were inexpensive, he did not file a complaint immediately.
Officials familiar with the probe said they will look at every possibility, including whether thefts were part of a larger conspiracy. CBI has already announced a reward of ₹10 lakh for any information regarding the death of the judge. It has also carried out polygraph and psychoanalysis tests on both the accused.
The agency took over the probe in early August after the Supreme Court said the incident had larger ramifications for the independence of the judiciary.