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India

Dhanbad Judge Death Case: Jharkhand HC Says CBI Charge Sheet A ‘Novel’, Probe Not Foolproof

The charge sheet was filed last week under Section 302 of the IPC which is used on charges of murder.

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File photo of Jharkhand High Court (Photo Credit: ANI)

Ranchi: The High Court of Jharkhand on Friday said the charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the unnatural death case of a Dhanbad district judge in July is like a “novel” and the agency failed to substantiate the murder charge against the two accused persons. The charge sheet was filed last week under Section 302 of the IPC which is used on charges of murder.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad also observed that the investigation done by the central agency was not conclusive and no new facts have come up during its probe.

Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) initiated to monitor the probe into the 49-year-old additional district judge Uttam Anand’s death after being hit by an auto-rickshaw in Dhanbad town on July 28, the bench observed that the agency has filed the charge sheet in a routine manner while keeping the high court in the dark,

The investigation is not foolproof and seems to be like a novel, the court said. The case will again be heard on November 12.

This is the second time in two weeks that the high court reprimanded the CBI in the case. On October 22, it had said the agency seems to have worked like “babus” (clerks) while completing the probe and filing a “stereotype” charge sheet.

The CBI had earlier on repeated occasions assured the court that investigation is proceeding in full swing and had even said that the connection of the two accused with several persons is being explored to link it with Anand’s murder.

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.