Muzaffarpur shelter home case: Why JD(U) minister Manju Verma had to quit from Nitish Kumar cabinet

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Published: August 8, 2018 7:35:12 PM

The scandalous case of alleged sexual molestation of 34 girls in a shelter home in Bihar's Muzaffarpur has finally seen its first political exit.

nitish kumar, nitish kumar manju verma, manju verma nitish kumar,“Agar pati doshi hue to main khud unhe phansi ki saja doongi (If my husband is found guilty I will punish him with death by hanging),” Manju Verma had said.

The scandalous case of alleged sexual molestation of 34 girls in a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur has finally seen its first political exit. Bihar Social Welfare minister Manju Verma, whose husband was allegedly linked to Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in the case, has resigned from Nitish Kumar government.

 

The name of Manju’s husband, Chandeshwar Verma, cropped up for the first time in the scandal on July 26 when Shibha Kumari Singh, wife of arrested district child protection officer Ravi Kumar Raushan, claimed that Chandreshwar was a frequent visitor at the shelter home.

Speaking on the issue in the Legislative Council, Manju said that she will hang her husband if he is found guilty. “Agar pati doshi hue to main khud unhe phansi ki saja doongi (If my husband is found guilty I will punish him with death by hanging),” she was quoted as saying.

Later, the probe revealed that Chandeshwar contacted Thakur several times over telephone. As per reports citing sources, initial investigation has revealed that Chandresh and Thakur spoke 17 times this year. The former is also believed to have visited the shelter home in Muzaffarpur thrice during this period.

The alleged involvement of Verma’s husband in the case had turned into a big embarrassment for the ruling party. However, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar underwent a number of flip-flops in deciding the fate of his minister, apparently due to the popularity she enjoys among the members of electorally crucial Kushwaha community.

On Monday, chief minister Nitish Kumar, and his deputy Sushil Modi had rejected Verma’s resignation. “I cannot take action without any reason… I had called the SWD minister (Manju Verma) in person and inquired about the matter… she has denied any involvement in the matter,” Kumar had said.

Sushil Modi had also gone on to tweet in support of Manju Verma. “Bjp is fully in support of Manju Verma. No charges against her. Those who have been chargesheeted & summoned by CBI court in Rly tender scam, whose 2 doz benami property attached by ED & ITax are lecturing us on morality (sic),” Modi had tweeted.

On the other hand, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav was unsparing in his attacks on Nitish and Modi in the case. So much so, that he took the protests to the national capital and garnered support from Opposition parties, including the Congress to get the government to act. Yadav demanded immediate resignation of Nitish Kumar and Manju verma on several occasions.

“The government will have to answer who is this moonch aur pet wale uncle about whom the girls have complained to the police. Why is the government trying to protect the culprits who have committed such henious crimes against the innocent minors,” Tejashwi had said.

“Nitish should resign taking moral responsibility for the incident,” he had said.

However, Yadav’s salvos alone might not have resulted in the big step. Despite Modi’s assurances to Nitish, reports suggested that BJP leaders in Bihar were also uncomfortable with Verma’s presence in the government. This came to fore when senior saffron party leader CP Thakur demanded Verma’s resignation from the government.

It seems that Kumar lately realised that shielding the minister was doing more harm than good to the image of his government, particularly in the wake of reports of the telephone conversations between Brajesh Thakur and the minister’s husband and asked Verma to resign from her post.

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