Dhanbad judge deliberately hit by autorickshaw driver, CBI tells Jharkhand High Court

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The CBI, which is probing the death case of Dhanbad judge Uttam Anand, told the Jharkhand High Court on Thursday that the autorickshaw driver, who has been apprehended in this connection, intentionally hit him with his three-wheeler.

The 49-year-old judge died after a three-wheeler knocked him down while he was out for his morning jog near Randhir Verma Chowk in Dhanbad. The video of the incident soon went viral on social media.

CBI zonal joint director Sharad Agarwal submitted before the court that his death was not a case of accident. As per The Print, CBI Joint Director Sharad Aggarwal submitted four forensic reports to the court.

Agarwal appeared before the division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad and said that officers of the agency are working round the clock to uncover the truth behind the incident.

"The Joint Director informed the court that investigation so far conclusively suggests that judge Uttam's accident by the vehicle leading to his death was intentionally done. The forensics report was submitted to the court in sealed covers. The case is being monitored by the high court every week since the date of occurrence of the incident," a source in the high court told The Print.

"The Joint Director also informed the court that the investigation has was in its last stage," the source noted, adding that the bureau had been stating for the past two court hearings that the incident was planned.

CBI sources told NDTV that reconstructions of the crime scene, examination of CCTV footage, including a 3D analysis, and forensic evidence all suggest judge Anand was deliberately killed.

Sources said that the CBI had engaged four separate forensic teams, from Gujarat's Gandhinagar, Delhi and Mumbai, to analyse the evidence and their reports "conclusively suggest that the judge was intentionally hit".

The bench observed that the case has shaken the morale of the judiciary. Time is the essence of this investigation, it said. The more time is spent, harder it will be to ascertain the truth, the bench stated.

Agarwal further said that the autorickshaw driver, Lakhan Verma, had earlier committed mobile thefts. Verma has been changing his statements every now and then, but the agency is doing everything to reach to the depth of the matter, the CBI zonal joint director said.

On 15 August, CBI had announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for any information pertaining to the incident, promising the identity of the informer would be kept a secret. The CBI in a notice said, "If any person is having any kind of information of importance related to murder of Uttam Anand, he/she may kindly inform CBI, Special Crime-I, New Delhi, camp CSIR Satkar Guest House, Dhanbad on the phone numbers. A cash reward of Rs 5 lakh will be given to the person who will furnish worthwhile information relating to the crime."

Reports suggest that brain mapping and narco analysis, or lie detector tests were conducted on the two accused in the case €" driver Lakhan Verma and his helper Rahul Verma €" who were arrested a day after the crime. The three-wheeler was registered in the name of a woman.

The CBI's submission comes almost two weeks after the Jharkhand HC called out the slow pace of the investigation.

On 2 September, a division bench led by Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan had asked the bureau to submit a status report on the investigation, expressing displeasure with the progress of the case.

The Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognisance of Judge Anand's demise on 30 July and had sought a report on the investigation by Jharkhand's Chief Secretary and Director-General of Police. The top court also asked the Jharkhand High Court to monitor the case weekly.

While CBI has said the judge was intentionally hit by the vehicle, an earlier report by a Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, had ruled out criminal conspiracy in the case and termed it an "unfortunate road accident".

The CBI took over the case from the Jharkhand Police on 4 August.

With PTI inputs

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