The two auto drivers arrested in the Dhanbad judge hit-and-run case have been sent to five days custody, even as lawyers across Jharkhand abstained from work Friday to protest against alleged mowing down of the judge by a heavy autorickshaw and murder of an advocate earlier.
Lawyers numbering over 30,000 expressing concern over law and order situation in the state demanded implementation of Advocates Protection Act in the state for the safeguard of advocates and their functions in discharge of the professional duties.
The Dhanbad police have taken both the arrested auto drivers- Lakhan Verma and his accomplices Rahul Verma- on five days remand, officials said.
Both were produced in Dhanbad chief judicial magistrate (CJM) residential court late Thursday night which sent them to custody.
The Special Investigation team (SIT), headed by Additional Director General (ADG) of Police, Sanjay Anand Lathkar, has got into action in the dastardly incident which shocked the nation.
The Supreme Court Friday took suo motu cognizance of the "sad demise" of 49-year-old Dhanbad judge Uttam Anand in "gruesome incident" of being allegedly mowed down by a vehicle while on morning jog on July 28 at Dhanbad and sought a status report within a week from Jharkhand''s Chief Secretary and the DGP on the probe into the incident.
"Lawyers across the state kept away from judicial work on the call of all 37 bar associations including 24 district bar associations, 12 sub divisional bar assocaitions and one Advocates Association at Jharkhand High Court to protest against the incidents," Rajesh Pandey, Secretary, Jharkhand State Bar Council told PTI.
The lawyers abstained from work to express solidarity and demanded implementation of Advocates Protection Act, he said.
Besides the culprits in both the incidents should be subjected to strictest legal process to restore eroding faith of the people in law and order machinery, he said.
Pandey said a delegation of the Council will soon meet the Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Governor Ramesh Bais in this connection.
ADG Latkar reached Dhanbad from Ranchi this morning and held marathon meetings with SIT members and other senior officials of the district police involved in investigation into the accident, officials said.
Officer in-charge of Dhanbad sadar police station Vinay Kumar said that the police had demanded five days remand to complete the interrogation as both accused have accepted the crime.
Police have also recovered four mobile phones including three android phones from them, he said.
Vice-Chairman, Jharkhand State Bar Council, Rajesh Kumar Shukla said about 35,000 lawyers in the state kept themselves away from the judicial work to express solidarity as well as to mount pressure on government to implement Advocate Protection Act, which was pending for long, immediately.
Apart from raising the death of the Judge, the striking lawyers also demanded an enquiry into the death of an advocate Manoj Kumar Jha, who was murdered by anti-social elements in Tamar, Ranchi recently.
Following the killing of Manoj Kumar Jha, the council held an emergency meeting and had decided that lawyers will abstain from work across the state in protest against the two incidents.
Mr Shukla said all the 37 Bar associations of the state also submitted a memorandum in support of their demand, which also included adequate compensation to the victims family, fast trial to ensure stringent action to the culprits involved.
Meanwhile, Jamshedpur Bar Association President, Lala Ajit Ambast, said the law and order situation of a state was the major criteria to assess the development of that state.
"When the lawyers of the state are not safe, how we think about the safety of common man," he questioned while demanding for immediate implementation of Advocate Protection Act.
A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana Friday said it was taking suo motu cognizance of the Dhanbad Judge matter as incidents of attacks on judicial officers and the legal fraternity are happening across country.
"We direct the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) of Jharkhand to submit a report in a week''s time on the status of investigation on the sad demise of additional district and sessions Judge Uttam Anand," said the bench which also comprised justice Surya Kant.
The bench said it was concerned with the larger issues such as "the nature of the incident and the steps taken by the state governments for protection of judicial officers inside and outside the court premises".
On Thursday, the top court said the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court has already taken up the matter related to the alleged killing of the judicial officer after senior advocate and SCBA President Vikas Singh mentioned the matter and said this is a "brazen attack" on the independence of judiciary.
CCTV footages showed that District and Sessions Judge-8 of Dhanbad court, Uttam Anand , was jogging on one side of a fairly wide road at Randhir Verma Chowk early on Wednesday when a heavy auto-rickshaw veered towards him, hit him from behind and fled the scene.
Locals took him to a nearby hospital, where the doctors declared him dead on arrival.
The Jharkhand police Thursday arrested two persons, auto driver Lakhan Verma and his helper Rahul Verma, in connection with the case.
The arrests were made following the recovery of the three-wheeler involved in the incident, senior police official, Dhanbad, Sanjiv Kumar, had said, adding the three-wheeler recovered from Giridih is registered in a woman's name.