Dhanbad Judge Murder Case: A sessions court in Dhanbad, Jharkhand on Thursday convicted two accused in the murder of Additional Sessions Judge Uttam Anand. On July 28 last year, Judge Uttam Anand was hit by an auto-rickshaw during his morning walk. He then died due to a head injury.
The court is likely to pronounce the sentence on August 6. This decision comes exactly a year after the death of Justice Anand. On this day, he was directly hit by an autorickshaw on an empty road in Dhanbad.
Additional Sessions Judge Rajni Kant Pathak convicted Lakhan Verma and Rahul Verma under sections 302 (murder) and 201 (missing evidence) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The prosecution had said that the motive of the crime was to snatch the mobile phone of the victim. It was a pre-planned act, for which he was convicted under section 302 of the IPC. The defense argued that he was “not intentionally killed”. They can only be charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The court paid attention to these grounds
After the verdict, defense lawyer Kumar Bimlendu told The Indian Express, “The judge convicted both the accused of murder. The court only took into account the statement of eyewitness Shravan Kumar that the auto deliberately moved towards the judge. And hit him, which killed him.”
He further said,”The court also relied on the CFSL report, which said that both the accused were not intoxicated during the crime. The sentence will be pronounced on August 6.” The Jharkhand Police had charged two residents of Digwadih in Dhanbad, Lakhan Verma and Rahul Verma, under IPC sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), and 34 (common intention). Police feared that the accident would be a pre-planned hit and run.
The attack on Judge Anand was seen as an “attack on judicial independence”. Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana had said that he had also spoken to the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court on the matter.
The Jharkhand government later handed over the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The agency had re-registered the case and filed a charge sheet in October last year. The sessions court framed the charges on February 2 this year and completed the hearing of the case after 35 dates.