Dhanbad judge murder: CBI court holds both accused guilty, sentence on Aug 6

Updated on Jul 28, 2022 08:06 PM IST

The death of judge Uttam Anand sparked off security concerns in the entire judiciary after CCTV footage emerged showing the three-wheeler swerving on an empty road to knock him down. 

The judge was on a morning jog on the road outside his official residence in the coal city when the incident occurred. (HT FILE PHOTO.)
The judge was on a morning jog on the road outside his official residence in the coal city when the incident occurred. (HT FILE PHOTO.)

A special CBI court in Dhanbad on Thursday held the two accused, auto rickshaw driver Lakhan Verma and his accomplice Rahul Verma, guilty of killing additional sessions judge Uttam Anand, exactly one year after he was mowed down by the three-wheeler occupied by the duo on July 28, last year.

The judge was on a morning jog on the road outside his official residence in the coal city when the incident occurred.

“The special CBI court judge Rajnikant Pathak held the two accused guilty under sections 302 (murder), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC. The court has fixed August 6 to decide on the quantum of punishment,” CBI special prosecutor Amit Jindal told reporters.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had produced 58 witnesses including experts to substantiate the case, Jindal added.

Reacting to the development, defence counsel Kumar Bimlendu said they will plead for minimum punishment for the convicts.

“We will get the detailed order in the next few days, but going by the operative part of the verdict that the judge read out it seems the court has relied on the video footage and an eyewitnesses’ account who was riding a bike just behind the auto rickshaw,” said Bimlemdu.

The death of judge Uttam Anand sparked off security concerns in the entire judiciary after CCTV footage emerged showing the three-wheeler swerving on an empty road to knock him down. The vehicle, which was stolen from Dhanbad, was recovered from neighbouring Giridih district that night. Two people — auto driver Lakhan Verma, 22, and his accomplice Rahul Verma, 21 — were arrested two days after the crime.

As the incident sparked outrage, both the Supreme Court and Jharkhand High Court took cognizance of the matter, with the high court monitoring the investigations closely till the CBI filed the chargesheet. On the recommendation of the state government, the CBI took over the investigations on July 31.

On October 20, 2021, the central agency filed the chargesheet against the duo under sections 302 (murder), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code.

The sessions court framed charges on February 2 this year and completed the trial on July 26. During the course of trial, the prosecution produced 58 witnesses including 40 experts including doctors, scientists, forensic experts to substantiate its charge.

As per the available information, the prosecution had charged that the motive of the crime was to snatch the victim’s mobile phone, and that it was a premeditated act that warranted a conviction under IPC Section 302. However, the defence counsel had pleaded that it was not an intentional hit and that the only charge that the accused could attract was section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

The autopsy report had said death had occurred due to injuries caused by hard and blunt substance on the head. Before the CBI filed the chargesheet, the Jharkhand HC, which was monitoring the case every week, had pulled up the agency for not being able to crack the case.

In due course of investigation, the CBI recreated the crime scene, announced cash reward up to 10 lakh besides getting brain mapping of the two accused done twice, which was criticised by the HC.

The agency finally filed the chargesheet on October 20, 2021 in which the CBI said the incident seemed to be “planned and intentional”, and that it “does not appear to be an accident”. It said the auto-rickshaw had closely followed Uttam Anand. At the trial stage, it was also argued, based on video footage, that the driver saved a cyclist ahead showing the driver was in control of the vehicle.

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, January 27, 2023
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals