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Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes: CBI tells Supreme Court it unearthed skeleton of 15-year-old at excavation site

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday told the Supreme Court it had unearthed the skeleton of a 15-year-old girl at a cremation site in Bihar during its inquiry into the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape cases.

The agency told the bench that it has interviewed the girls who lived at the shelter home with assistance from experts of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), and that they needed more time to talk to them again in view of the facts emerging in the investigation. The CBI's counsel told the Supreme Court that experts from NIMHANS were dealing with the aspects pertaining to the trauma faced by these girls, and that the exercise has yielded "good results", so far.

This comes a day after the CBI began to excavate a grave in Muzaffarpur, where it is suspected that the remains of some of the girls, who were sexually abused at the shelter home, could be buried. The agency said the excavation site is at Sikandarpur in Muzaffarpur district. Investigators will share more details once they complete the excavation.

 Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes: CBI tells Supreme Court it unearthed skeleton of 15-year-old at excavation site

File image of a protest march in Patna against the rapes of girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home. PTI

The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that both the "investigation and rehabilitation aspect should go side by side" in the case. "We cannot look only at the investigation factor. We have to look at the rehabilitation factor also. It is as important as the investigation."

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, representing the Bihar government, told the bench that rehabilitation of these girls should continue as they have gone through lot of trauma.

Some of the survivors in the government-funded shelter home run by Brajesh Thakur's NGO Seva Sankalp Ewam Vikas Samiti (SSEVS) have alleged that a few of their fellow inmates were killed and buried after being raped, officials said. The agency began to dig up the location after some of the girls identified the site. They started the process after questioning Thakur's close aide.

On 20 September, the Supreme Court had vacated a Patna High Court order restraining the media from reporting on the investigation into the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, where several minor girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused over a period of time. The incident came to light after a report from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) alleged sexual abuse of 34 girls at the shelter home, after which an FIR was subsequently registered by the Bihar social welfare department, and 10 people, including Thakur, were arrested.

The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar handed over the investigation to the CBI after a huge outcry. The state's social welfare minister, Manju Verma, had to resign in August after it was disclosed that her husband had spoken to Thakur several times between January and June.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Oct 04, 2018 19:41:20 IST