Dhanbad judge was intentionally hit by auto, CBI tells Jharkhand HC
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed the Jharkhand high court on Thursday that Dhanbad additional district judge Uttam Anand, who was killed in July after being run over by an autorickshaw, was “apparently hit intentionally”.
Appearing before a division bench of chief justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and justice Sujit Narayan Prasad, CBI zonal director Sharad Agrawal, while submitting the weekly probe report demanded by the court, said Anand’s death was not an accident and the agency was investigating all angles to unravel the conspiracy.
The bench observed that the case has shaken the morale of the judiciary. Time is the essence of this investigation, it said. The more time is spent, harder it will be to ascertain the truth, the bench stated
The 49-year-old district judge was mowed down by a autorickshaw while he was out for a morning walk on July 28 outside the Magistrate Colony near Randhir Verma Square in Dhanbad.
He was taken to a hospital in the city about an hour later where he has declared brought dead.
The two occupants of the three-wheeler, Lakhan Verma and Rahul Verma, were arrested and the vehicle seized after CCTV footage from the location showed that the three-wheeler swerved abruptly to hit the judge from behind.
A lawyer who participated in the court hearing on Thursday said the zonal director informed the court that it seems it was intentional hit based on the interrogation of the accused, but there is no concrete evidence yet.
The court asked CBI not to waste time and questioned the agency why it has not been able to track down more suspects beyond the two occupants of the autorickshaw who were arrested.
“The CBI officer informed the court that Lakhan Verma has been a cellphone thief and trying to mislead the agency by changing his testimony frequently. The agency is interrogating both for a breakthrough,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
Both the Supreme Court and the Jharkhand high court took suo motu cognisance of Anand’s death and sought a thorough probe. A special investigation team was formed on July 28 headed by an additional director general-rank police officer, but the case was handed over to the CBI on July 31 at the state government’s insistence. The top court on August 9ordered the CBI to file status report in the Jharkhand high court about the progress of the investigation on a weekly basis.
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