Bihar shelter home rape cases: Supreme Court transfers investigations to CBI, says no transfer of officers without permission

The Supreme Court on Wednesday transferred the inquiry into the alleged physical and sexual abuse of inmates at 17 shelter homes in Bihar to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), despite strong opposition from the state government. The top court also laid down that the CBI officers investigating the shelter homes cases in Bihar should not be transferred without its permission.

Bihar has 17 such homes, and the CBI is already investigating the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, in which at least 30 girls were allegedly subjected to sexual abuse. The CBI told the bench it will file a chargesheet in the Muzaffarpur case by 7 December.

This came as the apex court rapped the agency after its lawyer said interim CBI director M Nageswar Rao had been was unable to decide on the matter as the Supreme Court had barred him from making any major policy decision. "The order in the (Alok) Verma case doesn't mean that other CBI investigations will stop," the court asserted.

 Bihar shelter home rape cases: Supreme Court transfers investigations to CBI, says no transfer of officers without permission

File image of the Supreme Court. AP

Rao, who was appointed the CBI interim chief after the government divested director Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana of all responsibilities at the agency, was directed by the Supreme Court to carry out routine functions but not make any major decisions.

The 17 shelter homes in Bihar were indicted in a study by Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)." The TISS report raised grave concerns about the 17 shelter homes in Bihar. The CBI must look into it," court said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday had slammed the Bihar government for its apparent laxity towards the shelter homes investigation and gave the Nitish Kumar government 24 hours to add charges under Section 377 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in the FIRs.

The bench had also asked the Bihar government counsel why FIRs had not been lodged under Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC, despite allegations that children were sodomised at the shelter homes.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said Bihar was "very soft" and "very selective" in registering FIRs against the perpetrators of such crimes and had asked the state government whether these "children are not the citizens of this country". The top court also told the Bihar administration that it was not happy with the Bihar Police's investigation and wished to transfer the case to the CBI.

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking to have an FIR lodged into the alleged physical and sexual abuse of inmates at Bihar's shelter homes as well as a court-monitored investigation into the allegations.

TISS submitted its report to the Bihar government in August, highlighting gross violations of human rights of the inmates at various shelter homes in the state, including the Muzaffarpur one. In the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, an FIR was lodged on 31 May against 11 people after the TISS report came to light. The CBI later took over the investigation and has arrested 17 people in the case, so far.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2018 13:45:45 IST