Friday, 30 July 2021 | Vijay Deo Jha | Ranchi
The suspicious death of Dhanbad District Judge Uttam Anand has badly shaken up the judiciary and Bar across the country as Jharkhand High Court on Thursday remarked that it was not a case of hit-and-run but a brutal murder of a judicial officer.
Anand was jogging on the roadside in Dhanbad on Wednesday morning when an auto rickshaw knocked him down leading to his death. While two have been arrested, the CCTV footage strongly suggests that the judge was deliberately hit.
The matter reached the Supreme Court on Thursday when the Supreme Court Bar Association demanded an independent enquiry. Former additional solicitor general Vikas Singh requested Chief Justice of India NV Ramana to hand over the investigation of this case to the CBI.
However, the CJI said since the matter is listed for hearing before Jharkhand High Court let the High Court handle the case and hence the intervention of the apex court is not required. He said he has spoken to Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court Dr Ravi Ranjan.
Meanwhile, the double bench of Jharkhand HC comprising Chief Justice and Justice Sujit Narayan stated that the High Court will monitor the investigation.
The High Court held a virtual hearing of the case on the basis of the letter of judges of Dhanbad district court, which has now been converted as PIL.
The court said that it has serious doubts whether the police will be able carry the investigation impartially.
“We are very serious about handing this case to the CBI because we want the main conspirator to be caught,” the court said.
But attorney general Rajiv Ranjan assured that a special investigation team has been constituted and police will professionally carry out the investigation.
The court further added that if at any point of investigation if the court feels that investigation is being compromised then the court will take no time to transfer this case to the CBI for investigation. The court directed police to investigate the case minutely to examine those who were unhappy with the judge rightfully discharging his duty.
Expressing deep concern over the suspicious death of the judge; the bench said that as if there is no rule of law in Jharkhand as months back a police officer had died, a lawyer was shot dead a few days back and now a judge died under suspicious circumstances.
The CCTV footage reveals that this is not hit and run case this is a brutal murder. A high-ranking judicial official has been attacked. This is an attack on the judiciary and nothing can be more serious than that,” the court observed.
The high court slammed Jharkhand Police for delay in lodging an FIR in this matter. The court asked Dhanbad SSP as to by what time the FIR was lodged. Police informed the court that FIR was lodged at 6.45 in the morning and then again corrected that the FIR was actually lodged at 12.45 in the afternoon. On this the court asked as to why the timing of the FIR is being manipulated. The court also sought to know how the CCTV footage became viral in social media when it was part of the investigation.