CBI takes over investigation into Dhanbad judge’s death
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday took over the investigation into the death of Dhanbad additional district judge Uttam Anand and formed a 20-member Special Investigation Team (SIT), days after the Supreme Court said the incident had larger ramifications for the independence of the judiciary.
Anand died after he was hit by an auto-rickshaw while on a morning walk on July 28. The Jharkhand police have arrested two persons, Lakhan Verma and Rahul Verma, who were driving the vehicle they had allegedly stolen.
The SIT, along with experts from the Central Forensics Science Laboratory (CFSL), “immediately” left for Dhanbad to collect all case files from Jharkhand police, interrogate the two suspects and collect other evidence in the case, people familiar with the developments said.
The central agency has re-registered the first information report (FIR) filed by the Jharkhand police after receiving a notification from Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), according to an official who asked not to be named.
The Supreme Court as well as the Jharkhand high court had taken suo motu cognisance of the incident last week after CCTV footage of the hit-and-run incident showed the three-wheeler deliberately swerving on an empty road to knock down the judge.
The auto-rickshaw used in the incident was allegedly stolen from Dhanbad and later recovered from the neighbouring Giridih district.
On July 30, the bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and justice Surya Kant sought a complete report on the case from the Jharkhand chief secretary and the director general of police in a week.
Registering the suo motu case as ‘In Re: Safeguarding Courts and Protecting Judges (Death of Additional Sessions Judge, Dhanbad)’, the court termed the incident “unfortunate”, adding: “This gruesome incident has been widely reported in newspapers, and video clippings of the incident are also being circulated on social media platforms, suggesting that it was not a case of simplicitor road accident.”
The court said: “Having regard to the seriousness of the issue and its larger ramifications, we direct the chief secretary and director general of police, state of Jharkhand to jointly submit a status report of inquiry with the registry of this court within a week’s time.” CM Hemant Soren had suggested a CBI probe in the case.