The Jharkhand High Court on Friday directed the CBI to implead the chief of instant messaging giant WhatsApp in connection with the murder of an additional district judge in Dhanbad last year.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad asked the central agency to make the head of WhatsApp a party in the case and issued a notice to the Facebook-owned company.

The bench was hearing a public interest litigation initiated suo moto by the high court after the death of the judge.

Additional District Judge Uttam Anand, 49, was run over by an autorickshaw while he was out jogging on July 28, 2021.

The court was informed by the CBI counsel that it had sought WhatsApp chat details of two accused persons arrested in the case, but the instant messaging major denied access, citing security and privacy policies.

The bench then ordered the company to be added as a respondent in the case to ensure its appearance in the matter before the high court.

The case will be listed for hearing after a week.

With PTI inputs