Dhanbad judge death: Jharkhand HC warns cops against delay or flaw in probe

The High Court observed that the Special Investigation Team was “feeding questions” to get “a particular answer”. It supported the State government's decision to hand over the case to CBI

The Special Investigating Team (SIT) at the spot where Additional District Judge Uttam Anand was allegedly murdered. Pic: PTI

The Jharkhand High Court on Tuesday (August 3) pulled up the special police team probing the alleged murder of Dhanbad judge Uttam Anand for lax investigation.

The bench of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan observed that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) was “feeding questions” to get “a particular answer”. The High Court agreed with the State government’s decision to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The High Court is hearing the case suo motu.

The SIT was constituted by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren.

The judges reiterated the need to unearth the “conspiracy” and catch the “mastermind”. The judges said, “Time is of utmost essence in this case. Delay or any flaw in the probe may affect the trial adversely.”

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The judges also objected to questions posed by SIT to the investigating doctors. “We have perused the questionnaire framed by the Investigating Officer namely Mr Vinay Kumar… to Dr Kumar Shubhendu, Assistant Professor… SNMMC, Dhanbad: ‘Please explain whether the injuries in the head are possible by fall on road surface or not?’… When the Investigating Agency is investigating the occurrence in order to find out the reason of death, then how and under what circumstances such question is being asked by the Investigating Officer from the concerned doctor, that too when the CCTV footage clarifies the entire scene of occurrence?” they said.

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When the post-mortem report clearly states that the death was “caused by hard and blunt substance due to head injury”, why are cops asking if such an injury is possible due to a fall?, observed the judges.

“…it is for the investigating agency to find out the weapon of crime. Feeding a particular question to the doctor to get a particular answer is not at all appreciated,” the court said.

The Jharkhand High Court asked the SIT why an FIR was filed late. The court said that the video of the judge being rammed by a rickshaw went viral in 2 hours and he was admitted to the hospital around 5.30 am, but the FIR was registered only around 1pm that too after the judge’s wife complained.

A couple of days back, the SIT had denied “conspiracy angle” in the case and termed it an unfortunate hit-and-run “road accident”. ThePrint had quoted a source to say the SIT investigation shows the rickshaw drivers were high on a cocktail of the medicine N10 or Nitrosun 10 — a drug prescribed for patients of epilepsy, insomnia and anxiety disorders — and illicit liquor.

On July 28, District and Sessions Judge of Dhanbad, Uttam Anand, was out on a morning walk when an auto rickshaw hit him from behind. The CCTV footage showed it was a deliberate attempt to either critically injure the judge or kill him. Judge Anand was hearing the murder case of Ranjay Singh, a close aide of Jharia MLA Sanjeev Singh. He had denied bail to Abhinav Singh and Ravi Thakur, members of a gang headed by Aman Singh.

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