In the morning of 28th July, 2021, Additional District Judge of Dhanbad- Uttam Anand was admitted in a nearby hospital after an auto crashed into him while he was taking his morning walk. The case initially seemed like an accident and was declared so too by the state police. However, with the coming out of recent CCTV footage, the matter is clearly to be that of murder. The auto could be seen deliberately hitting the Judge in the broad daylight at the middle of the street.
Disturbing CCTV visuals of the vehicle attacking the judge during his morning walk on public road in Dhanbad had emerged yesterday.
Vikas Singh told the Supreme Court that a person was seen zooming the visuals as if to ascertain if the judge was killed and it was shocking. pic.twitter.com/Lcej07wiEc
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) July 29, 2021
It is being said that Judge Uttam Anand had taken the charge in Dhanbad court 6 months ago. He was heading the bench dealing with the famous Ranjay Singh murder case in which the accused, Harsh Singh, is the brother-in-law of Jharia MLA from the Congress party- Purnima Niraj Singh.
Ranjay Singh Murder Case
The rivalry of politics and power has been old enough in Dhanbad, Jharkhand. The fight which in earlier decades was mostly related to coal smuggling, business, etc. recently transformed into the one between Congress and BJP with two cousins Niraj Singh and Sanjeev Singh fighting elections from these parties respectively. Niraj Singh, a Congress politician was shot 67 times in 2017 succumbing to death. The accused was none other than his cousin Sanjeev Singh who was an MLA from BJP from Jharia that time. The police said it was an act of revenge for the murder of Ranjay Singh, an ally of Sanjeev Singh. Some also say, Ranjay was killed in an attempt to murder Sanjeev. Today, Purnima Singh- the MLA from Jharia is the widow of Niraj Singh and she won the 2019 Legislative Assembly elections against Ragini Singh (fighting from the BJP)- wife of Sanjeev Singh who is facing the murder trials. It was the brother-in-law of Purnima Singh- Harsh Singh, who is accused of murdering Ranjay and his trial was being conducted under the judge- Uttam Anand. Few days back, Uttam Singh had rejected the bail plea of Aman Singh, who was a shooter hired by Harsh Singh to murder Ranjay.
Pic: Niraj Singh (Left – Credit- extremurn.blogspot.com) , Harsh Singh ( Right – Credit- rojgarsamachar.in)
Harsh Singh earlier too has been registered under many cases. It was in 2020 that he along with his 2 relatives- Eklavya Singh and Guddu Singh were accused of openly getting involved in coal smuggling. However, how political power interferes with genuine investigations is not an unknown idea in India. The murder of Uttam Anand reaching no substantial conclusion might not be a matter of surprise thus.
The State of Law and Order in Jharkhand
Jharkhand for long has seen under-development and poverty. However, the state recently is facing a new evil in the form of crippling law and order. It was not even a week before the murder of Judge Uttam Anand that an advocate from the Ranchi Civil Court- Manoj Jha was shot dead.
In last few years, almost 4 people connected to the judiciary as lawyers, advocates, etc. have been murdered. The fact that none of the cases have reached a sound conclusion is disturbing too.
The Supreme Court
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of India has decided to let the Jharkhand High Court take up the matter after the Chief Justice of the state took suo moto cognizance of it. Justice Ramana, the CJI said- ‘’The High Court has taken up the issue and the case is now on at the High Court. We are aware of the case and we will take care’’. Nevertheless, the apex court has still demanded the status report in the matter from the Chief Secretary of Jharkhand as well as the Director General of Police. This has been done keeping in mind the increasing cases of attack on the judiciary members throughout the country. A bench led by Justice Ramana pointed out to the ‘wide ramifications’ such incidences can have.
Meanwhile, two persons- Lakhan Kumar Verma and Rahul Verma have been arrested after they confessed being involved in this incident. Also, the auto has been seized. Further investigations have been taken up by the state police after the High Court pointed out towards the sensitivity of the issue. Amidst all this, the Advocate General of Jharkhand- Mr. Rajeev Ranjan has said- ‘’A judge has been killed. Whether it is an accident or murder we need to find it. It is a very sensitive case and hence the court has taken suo moto cognizance.’’
Though the CCTV visuals point out to the chances of murder being huge, along with the people of Jharkhand including the family of the deceased believing so, how the matter turns out via the probe, especially when it involves the influential powers of Jharkhand, remains to be seen.