CBI announces ₹5 lakh award for information in case of Dhanbad judge's death

The case was handed over to the CBI by the Jharkhand government

The CBI has announced a reward of ₹5 lakh for anyone sharing "information of importance" on the alleged killing of Dhanbad judge Uttam Anand, who was mowed down by an autorickshaw on July 28, officials said on Sunday.

A notice announcing the reward said Anand was killed on July 28 and the case is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

It said if anyone has any information of importance, it can be shared with the special crime team of the CBI housed at the CSIR Satkar guest house in Dhanbad through phone numbers 7827728856, 011-24368640 and 24368641.

"Cash reward of ₹5 lakh will be given to the person who will give worthwhile information relating to the crime," it said.

The CBI has taken the custody of two men — autorickshaw driver Lakhan Verma and his accomplice Rahul Verma — who are accused in the case.

The 49-year-old judge was allegedly mowed down by a heavy autorickshaw while he was on a morning jog in Dhanbad on July 28.

CCTV footage showed that he was jogging on one side of a fairly wide road at the Randhir Verma Chowk when the autorickshaw veered towards him, hit him from behind and fled the scene.

The CBI has recreated the accident scene, while experts of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) have also collected evidence from the spot.

The case was handed over to the CBI by the Jharkhand government. The central agency had dispatched a 20-member team under its ace investigator V.K. Shukla, recently awarded as one of the best investigators by the Union home ministry, to probe the matter.

The Jharkhand High Court and the Supreme Court are keeping an eye on the case.

A high court bench of Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad had directed the CBI to initiate a probe at the earliest.

The court had also directed the state government to hand over all the documents of the case to the CBI.

Taking cognizance of a letter filed before the court by the Dhanbad principal district judge in the case, Justice Ranjan had converted it into a writ petition and ordered the formation of an SIT headed by Additional Director General of Police Sanjay Latkar to look into the matter.

Dissatisfied with the progress report, the bench had questioned the delay in registering an FIR into the case.

The incident occurred at 5.08 a.m. and the FIR was registered at 12.45 p.m. when it was clear from the CCTV footage that the judge was picked up from the spot and taken to a hospital, the court had said.

"Do the police register an FIR only on the basis of a statement? Do the police not register an FIR on their own? Why did the police take six hours to register the FIR?" the court had asked.

It had also said there is fear among judicial officers following the incident and directed that the security of courts, including the high court, and that of judicial officers be strengthened.

On July 30, the Supreme Court also took suo motu cognizance of the "sad demise" of the Dhanbad judge.

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