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CBI Special Court Convicts Both Defendants, Sentencing Aug. 6

A special CBI court on Thursday convicted the two defendants in the murder of Extra Sessions Judge Uttam Anand, who was rammed by an auto-rickshaw on a deserted road in Dhanbad exactly one year ago on July 28, 2021. The court has rendered its verdict against the accused Lakhan Verma and Rahul Verma have been charged under Sections 302 (murder) and 201 (disappearance of evidence) along with other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on August 6.

CBI Special Judge Rajinikanth Pathak delivered the verdict in the murder case. During the hearing, the court recorded the testimony of 58 witnesses out of a total of 169 mentioned in the CBI indictment. The CBI had said that Lakhan and Rahul deliberately hit Judge Anand, resulting in his death.

On the morning of July 28, 2021, Anand left his home for a morning walk. An auto-rickshaw rammed him from behind at Randheer Prasad Verma Chowk in Dhanbad. He was pronounced dead by doctors when taken to hospital. According to the autopsy report, the death had occurred “due to injuries caused by a hard and blunt substance” to the head. When the incident happened last year, Anand’s wife, Kriti Sinha, told police it appeared the driver ‘hit him on the head in a pre-planned way. , resulting in his death.

The CBI also said CCTV footage of the incident showed it was a murder and not a traffic accident, and that the judge was targeted. The Supreme Court and High Court of Jharkhand had suo motu knowledge of the incident.

The CBI said in its charge sheet: “After the hit, the driver did not slow down or stop the autorickshaw to see the physical condition of the victim, which is otherwise a normal human reflex of the driver after hitting the person. Therefore, it appears that the rickshaw driver had targeted Uttam Anand.”

He also said that one of the two defendants, “Rahul Kumar Verma is a professional thief who continues to search for soft targets”, and that he and his alleged accomplice Lakhan Verma had “been looking for a chance to carry out the plan”.


Due to the high profile nature of the case, on the recommendation of the Jharkhand government, the investigation was handed over to the CBI on August 4, 2021. This was shortly after a Special Investigation Team put in place by the state government investigated the matter. .

On October 20, 2021, the CBI filed an indictment against the two defendants. Besides the murder charge, the CBI also recorded two separate FIRs of vehicle and cell phone theft. On February 2, the Court of Sessions filed charges and concluded the trial after 35 hearings.

The incident was considered an “attack on the independence of the judiciary”. Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had spoken with Chief Justice of Jharkhand HC about the matter.

During the trial, there were several instances where the HC lambasted the CBI for “vague” documents. As part of its investigation, the central agency recreated the crime scene, took advice from experts and announced cash rewards ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. Another controversial decision – which did not go down well with the court – was the CBI’s decision to obtain brain profiling from the two defendants.

The state government has also been criticized for running a forensic laboratory at an “early stage”. The accused’s samples had to be returned as there was no blood and urine testing facility, due to which they had to be sent to CFSL, Delhi.

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