The Jharkhand High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Special Investigation Team probing the death of a judge in Dhanbad for “feeding questions” to get a “particular answer”, The Indian Express reported.
The court also agreed with the state government’s decision to hand over the investigation of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The court directed the state government to submit the case documents and provide logistical support to the central agency, Bar and Bench reported.
The High Court was hearing a suo motu case regarding the death of Dhanbad Additional Sessions Judge Uttam Anand, who was hit by a vehicle on an empty road on July 28. However, there are allegations that the judge was murdered.
The bench of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan on Tuesday noted that the autopsy report said that the death was “caused by hard and blunt substance due to head injury”. The court asked the police’s SIT why it was asking if such injuries were possible due to a fall.
The police had asked Kumar Shubhendu, Assistant Professor at the Shaheed Nirmal Mahto Medical College and Hospital, if Anand’s injuries could have been caused by a fall on the road.
“The postmortem report clearly discloses that the fatal injury has been caused by a hard and blunt substance,” the court said. “Thereafter, it is for the Investigating Agency to find out the weapon of crime. Feeding a particular question to the doctor to get a particular answer is not at all appreciated.”
The SIT formed to conduct an inquiry into Anand’s death had submitted its report to the High Court on Monday.
The bench said that it did not get any satisfactory answers from the police.
The court also questioned the police on the delay in filing a First Information Report. It noted that the incident took place at 5 am and the FIR was lodged around 1 pm.
The judges also noted that there was fear among judicial officers following the incident and directed that the security of courts, including the High Court, and judicial officers be strengthened.
On the morning of July 28, Judge Anand died after being hit by an autorickshaw on an empty road in Dhanbad. CCTV footage showed an autorickshaw suddenly swerving towards him and hitting him. The vehicle then drove away.
Judge Anand had been hearing the murder case of Ranjay Singh, who was a close confidante of former Jharia MLA Sanjiv Singh. The judge had also denied bail to Ravi Thakur, a protégé of infamous Uttar Pradesh shooter Abhinav Singh and Aman Singh, just three days ago.
On July 29, the Jharkhand Police had arrested the driver of the autorickshaw and his alleged associate.
Two police officers have been suspended in connection with the case. One of them reportedly didn’t take prompt action in a complaint related to the theft of the auto. The other officer was suspended for making CCTV footage of the incident public, according to PTI.
Last week, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had recommended a CBI inquiry into the judge’s death.