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HC rejects CBI’s ‘snatching bid’ theory in Dhanbad judge’s death case

Judge Uttam Anand was on a morning jog when he was mowed down by the autorickshaw on July 28 last year, an incident which sparked off security concerns in the entire judiciary.
Dhanbad judge Uttam Anand was on a morning jog when he was mowed down by the autorickshaw on July 28 last year. The HC on Friday dismissed the CBI’s theory that he was possibly knocked down during a bid to snatch his mobile phone.
Updated on Jan 15, 2022 04:44 AM IST
By, Ranchi

The Jharkhand high court on Friday dismissed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s theory that Dhanbad additional district judge Uttam Anand was possibly knocked down by an auto-rickshaw during a bid to snatch his mobile phone, and sought a report of all technical investigation, including the narco test on the accused, carried out in the matter till date.

A bench of chief justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and justice Surjeet Narayan Prasad was holding a virtual hearing on the weekly investigation progress report when it expressed dissatisfaction over the central agency’s claim that the two accused reportedly admitted that they were trying to snatch the judge’s mobile phone when the incident took place.

Judge Uttam Anand was on a morning jog when he was mowed down by the autorickshaw on July 28 last year, an incident which sparked off security concerns in the entire judiciary. The vehicle, which was stolen from Dhanbad, was recovered from neighbouring Giridih district that night.

Auto driver Lakhan Verma, 22, and his accomplice Rahul Verma, 21, were arrested two days later. In October, the central probe agency filed its chargesheet against the duo under sections 302 (murder), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code.

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“Citing what was captured on the CCTV, the court observed that in no way it was established that there was any attempt to snatch the phone by the occupants of the auto rickshaw at the time of the incident. The court said it could be possible that the accused were trying to derail the murder investigation by making such claims,” a lawyer who attended the virtual hearing said, wishing not to be named.

The court also sought to know from the probe agency the need to conduct the narco test and brain mapping of the accused twice. To this, the CBI said the two procedures were carried out twice to establish different sets of information that emerged during the course of the probe, they lawyer cited above said.

Fixing January 21 as the next date of hearing, the court directed the probe agency to submit all test reports by then.

The Supreme Court and the Jharkhand high court took suo motu cognisance of the hit-and-run incident after CCTV footage showed the three-wheeler swerving on an empty road to knock him down.

The CBI took over the probe on July 31 after the top court said the incident had larger ramifications for the independence of the judiciary. The state government had also recommended an investigation by the central agency into the case.

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