The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Bihar Police why former state minister Manju Verma, who had stepped down in the wake of the Muzaffurpur shelter home scandal, has not been arrested in a case related to recovery of ammunition from her residence.
The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Bihar Police why former state minister Manju Verma, who had stepped down in the wake of the Muzaffurpur shelter home scandal, has not been arrested in a case related to recovery of ammunition from her residence. The former minister’s husband Chandrashekhar Verma surrendered before a Begusarai court on Monday in connection with the arms case. A bench of Justices M B Lokur, S A Nazeer and Deepak Gupta also directed that Brajesh Thakur, prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse case, be shifted to the Patiala high security jail in Punjab from Bihar’s Bhagalpur jail.
The alleged sexual exploitation of the girls was first highlighted in an audit report submitted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to the state’s social welfare department. The apex court had earlier termed as “horrible” and “scary” details placed before it about the investigation into the case. The apex court had also taken note of the allegations referred by CBI against Thakur and issued notice to him to explain why he should not be transferred to a jail outside the state.
The CBI in its report had alleged that Thakur is an influential person and a mobile phone was recovered from him inside the jail where he is currently lodged under judicial custody. The top court had also asked the Bihar Police to investigate the former minister 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. 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 victims. It had said that there was no reason now to change the existing investigating team, which was set up by the CBI Director, and directed the investigation to continue under the same team which was set up on July 30.
Earlier, the bench had said that the investigation seems to be going in the right direction and had also asked the Income Tax Department to look into assets of the NGO which was running the shelter home and its owner Thakur. 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.
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.