Supreme Court Bar Association president demands CBI probe in Dhanbad judge death
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president and senior advocate Vikas Singh demanded an independent probe by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the death of additional district judge (ADJ), Dhanbad, Uttam Anand.
Speaking on the matter before the Supreme Court, initially before a bench headed by justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and later before Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, Singh said, “This is an attack on judicial independence. If a judiciary has to remain independent, judges have to be safe. An ADJ cannot be killed in this manner. This matter should be probed by CBI as local police can be complicit.” ADJ Uttam Anand was returning home from his morning walk when he was fatally hit by a vehicle early Wednesday morning.
The Dhanbad police filed a murder case and arrested two persons who were allegedly riding the vehicle, an auto rickshaw, at the time of the incident. in the incident after CCTV camera footage of the incident showed the auto rickshaw deliberately swerving on an empty road to knock down the judge. The auto rickshaw used in the incident, which was allegedly stolen from Dhanbad, was later recovered from the neighbouring Giridh district on Wednesday night itself.
CJI Ramana who specially took up the case, assured the SCBA president that he spoke to chief justice Ravi Ranjan of Jharkhand high court, who has said that the matter will be taken up by the high court. “The chief justice of the high court has spoken to senior superintendent of police, Dhanbad. Even the secretary general spoke to registrar general of the high court this morning. If there is any need for us to be involved, we will take it up.”
The police on Thursday also formed a 14-member special investigation team (SIT) headed by additional director general of police Sanjay Anand Lathkar to investigate the matter after the Jharkhand high court on Thursday took suo motu cognizance of the incident.
The CJI appreciated the concern shown by the Bar saying, “We are overwhelmed at the initiative shown by SCBA. We appreciate the steps taken but let us not jump into conclusions.”
Singh informed the court that the CCTV camera footage of the incident showed it was not an accident. suspecting it could be a murder, Singh said that the ADJ had recently rejected the bail of a notorious gangster and the matter needed to be probed. “There cannot be a more brazen attack on a judge than this. Any judge in this country can be attacked. This is a serious matter.”
Earlier in the day, Singh spoke to chief justice of Jharkhand high court and conveyed his demand for a CBI probe into the ADJ’s death.