Observing that no new fact has been discovered in the investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the death case of Dhanbad judge Uttam Anand, the High Court of Jharkhand on Thursday expressed annoyance over the slow pace of the probe. A division bench of Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad also expressed unhappiness with the lack of manpower at the Forensic Sciences Laboratory (FSL) and ordered the state home secretary and the FSL director to appear before it on the next date of hearing.
The investigation has not revealed anything which was not known before, the bench said while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) initiated to monitor the probe into the 49-year-old additional district judge’s death after being hit by an auto-rickshaw in Dhanbad town on July 28.
The footage of the incident clearly shows that the auto-rickshaw driver went out of his lane and hit the judge. Even if the driver was inebriated, his intent is clear from the footage, the bench said.
CCTV footage showed that the judge, Uttam Anand, was jogging on one side of a fairly wide road at Randhir Verma Chowk near the district court early on July 28 when a heavy auto-rickshaw veered towards him, hit him from behind, and fled the scene.
Some locals found him lying in a pool of blood and took him to a hospital, where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
Dhanbad police seized the vehicle from Giridih district and arrested the auto-rickshaw driver Lakhan Verma and his assistant Rahul Verma. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state police was probing the case initially. The state government later handed it over to the CBI which started its investigation on August 4.
The central agency on Wednesday doubled its reward to Rs 10 lakh for anyone sharing “information of importance” on the death of the judge.
The CBI has used various scientific tests on the two accused in its bid to solve the mystery. The bench on Thursday also summoned the home secretary and director of the Forensic Sciences Laboratory to appear before it in the virtual mode on the next date of hearing.
The order came after the court was informed by the Jharkhand Public Services Commission that it had issued advertisements for appointment in the vacant posts of the FSL in March this year.
However, the advertisement was cancelled and no fresh advertisement has been issued. The bench expressed its displeasure over the issue and observed that the government wants to keep the court in the dark. The high court on September 2 also expressed dissatisfaction over the slow progress into the investigation by the CBI into the judge’s death case and lack of workforce in the FSL.