The death of Dhanbad judge Uttam Anand in a hit-and-run case was intentional, the Central Bureau of Investigation told the Jharkhand High Court on Thursday, reported PTI.
The judge was out jogging on July 28 when he was allegedly murdered. CCTV footage of the incident showed the auto-rickshaw suddenly swerving towards Anand, who was walking on an empty road, and hitting him. The vehicle, which was reportedly stolen, then drove away.
CBI Joint Director Sharad Aggarwal has submitted four forensic reports to the court, reported ThePrint.
The Jharkhand Police had arrested the auto-rickshaw driver, Lakhan Kumar Verma, on July 29. Agarwal said that Verma has a crime record of stealing mobile phones. He has been changing his statements frequently, added the CBI joint director.
The CBI’s submission comes almost weeks after the Jharkhand High Court pulled up the agency for its slow pace of investigation. On September 2, a division bench had asked the bureau to submit a status report on the investigation.
The Central Bureau of investigation took over the case on August 4. Five days after that, the Supreme Court directed the agency to submit weekly reports to the Jharkhand High Court on the progress of the investigation.
On Thursday, the division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad observed that the case has shaken the morale of the judiciary, reported PTI. It said time is crucial for this investigation as it will be difficult to ascertain the truth if the CBI takes more time.
Judge Anand’s death
Allegations that judge Anand may have been murdered cropped up after CCTV footage showed the autorickshaw suddenly swerving towards him and hitting him.
The judge had been hearing the murder case of Ranjay Singh, who was a close confidante of former Jharia MLA Sanjiv Singh. He had also denied bail to Ravi Thakur, a protégé of infamous Uttar Pradesh shooter Abhinav Singh and Aman Singh, just three days before his death.
On August 17, the Supreme Court, while hearing a suo motu petition on the matter, had asked the Centre to take steps to protect judges and ensure the safety of courts. The court said that matter of judges’ safety should not be left to the states alone.