The Jharkhand government on Saturday handed over the probe into the hit-and-run death case of additional district and sessions (Dhanbad) judge Uttam Anand to the Central Bureau of Investigation. According to an official spokesperson, the move follows a recommendation made by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
The judge’s death triggered nationwide outrage after he was allegedly mowed down by an autorickshaw on July 28, when he was on his morning jog in Dhanbad. Taking cognizance of the issue, Soren on Friday said that justice will be delivered and ordered the state government to set up a Special Investigation Team to crack the 49-year-old judge’s death.
"It is state government's priority to complete the investigation of this incident at a speedy pace and provide justice to the family members," Soren had said, earlier.
CCTV footage of the incident shows the judge was jogging on one side of a fairly wide road at Randhir Verma Chowk in Dhanbad early on Wednesday when a heavy auto-rickshaw veered towards him, hit him from behind and fled the scene. Soon after the incident, passersby took the judge to a nearby hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
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The Supreme Court and the Jharkhand High Court expressed concerns over the matter and directed the state police to solve the case speedily.
Further, lawyers across Jharkhand had on Friday abstained from judicial work on the call of all 37 bar associations including 24 district bar associations, 12 sub divisional bar associations and one Advocates Association at Jharkhand High Court to protest against judge's death and an advocate's murder in the state.
The lawyers had abstained from work to express solidarity and demanded implementation of Advocates Protection Act, he said.
The Supreme Court Friday took suo motu cognizance of the "sad demise" of the Dhanbad judge Uttam Anand in the “gruesome incident”.
"We direct the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) of Jharkhand to submit a report in a week's time on the status of investigation on the sad demise of additional district and sessions Judge Uttam Anand,” said the bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana.
The bench had said it was concerned with the larger issues such as “the nature of the incident and the steps taken by the state governments for protection of judicial officers inside and outside the court premises”.
Jharkhand's Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan had on Thursday said "If at any point of time it appears to the court that the investigation is not heading in the right direction, then the case will be handed over to the CBI."
The Jharkhand police had on Thursday arrested two persons, auto drivers- Lakhan Verma and his helper Rahul Verma- in connection with the case.
The arrests were made following the recovery of the three-wheeler involved in the incident, Senior Superintendent of Police, Dhanbad, Sanjiv Kumar, had said, adding the three-wheeler recovered from Giridih is registered in a woman's name.
A Dhanbad district court had late Thursday night sent the two to five days police custody.
(With PTI inputs)