The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Bihar Police to investigate former minister Manju Verma and her husband Chandrashekhar Verma in connection with the recovery of huge quantity of ammunition from them.
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Bihar Police to investigate former minister Manju Verma and her husband Chandrashekhar Verma in connection with the recovery of huge quantity of ammunition from them. Verma had to resign as the minister of Social Welfare from the Bihar government in the wake of the Muzzafarpur shelter home sexual abuse case where several women were raped over time. The apex court’s order came after it perused the CBI status report into the investigation to the case in which it stated that “Chandrashekhar Verma and his wife has been in possession of illegal ammunition in large quantity”.
“We expect the local police to look into it,” a bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said. The bench said that the investigation seems to be going in the right direction and also asked the Income Tax Department to look into assets of the NGO which was running the shelter home and its owner Brajesh Thakur.
The court also asked the state government to file affidavit on shifting of eight girls from the shelter home. It also directed the CBI to file in sealed cover its next status report on the probe in the case within four weeks. The apex court had on September 18, stayed a Patna High Court order to set up a fresh CBI team to probe the case, saying such a move would not only be detrimental to the ongoing investigation but also to the victims. While staying the high court’s order directing the CBI’s special director to put in place a fresh team to probe the case, it said there was no reason now to change the existing investigating team which was set up the CBI Director.
The high court had on August 29 ordered that a fresh team of investigators be constituted by the CBI’s special director in the case in which incidents of alleged rape and sexual assault of women inmates over a period of time had come to light in an NGO-run shelter home at Muzaffarpur in Bihar.
The apex court had also noted that no allegations were made against the team probing the case with regard to the manner in which the investigation was being conducted. It had directed that the investigation should continue under the same team which was set up by the CBI Director on July 30.
The bench had also asked the CBI to place before it in a sealed cover the two status reports of probe in the case which were filed before the high court and listed the matter for further hearing on September 20. Over 30 girls were allegedly raped at the shelter home run by Brajesh Thakur, the chief of a state-funded NGO. The alleged sexual exploitation of the girls was first highlighted in an audit report submitted by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to the state’s social welfare department.
In all, the sexual abuse of 34 of the 42 inmates was confirmed in their medical examination. The TISS audit report had said that many girls at the shelter home had complained of sexual abuse. An FIR was lodged against 11 people, including Thakur, on May 31. The probe was later taken over by the CBI. A special investigation team was formed to probe the complaints.
The NGO running the shelter home in Muzaffarpur was blacklisted and the girls were shifted to shelter homes in Patna and Madhubani. Women staff members of the shelter home and Thakur were among those who were arrested by the police in connection with the case. The apex court had earlier taken cognizance of the matter after it received a letter from one Ranvijay Kumar who had expressed concern that the alleged victims were subjected to media interviews.