The Supreme Court on Friday took suo motu recognisance of the murder of a Jharkhand judge, noting it had "wider ramifications" and directing the state's Chief Secretary and Director-General of Police to file reports within a week, when it will hear the matter.
The court also expressed worry over reports of attacks on judicial officers, and indicated it might seek reports from the concerned state governments.
"This Dhanbad case has wider ramifications. We are getting reports that judicial officers are being attacked around the country. We intend to examine this and may seek report from all states," Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said.
The death of Uttam Anand, an Additional Sessions Judge in Jharkhand's Dhanbad on Wednesday, has sparked anger and outrage, after what was initially believed to be a hit-and-run took a chilling turn when security footage of the incident led to a murder investigation.
The killing also caused an outcry in the Supreme Court; the Chief Justice spoke to the Jharkhand Chief Justice on the day of the killing. "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," Justice Ramana had said.
Jharkhand Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan ordered a probe into the incident yesterday, which will be handled by a Special Investigative Team (SIT) under the leadership of Additional DGP Sanjay Latkar.
The court said it will monitor the probe and directed the SIT to provide updates on a regular basis, warning the team that investigative delays would lead to case being transferred to the CBI.
Two persons - the driver of the vehicle (which initial inquiries suggest was stolen) that hit him and an associate - have been arrested in connection with Judge Anand's death so far. The wife of the driver has been quoted as saying her husband claimed to have "won the lottery of Rs 80,000".
Early Wednesday morning Judge Anand was on his morning run when he was hit just half a kilometre from his home. CCTV footage shows him jogging along the side of a deserted road at 5 am when an auto turns and seems to go straight for him, ramming into him and driving off.
He was found lying bleeding on the road and was taken to hospital by a passerby. He died in hospital, according to the police, and his body remained unidentified for hours.
His family had reported him missing when he did not return at 7 am.
The police tracked him down to the hospital and established him as the man who had died in the accident. They have said CCTV footage makes it clear he was hit deliberately.
Judge Anand had been handling many cases of mafia killings in Dhanbad and recently rejected bail requests from two gangsters. The murder case of Ranjay Singh, a close aide of MLA Sanjeev Singh, was also pending before his court.