The Supreme Court on Thursday, while hearing the CBI's status report on the investigation into the Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes, said the report reveals “shocking, horrible and scary” details of how the crimes were committed. Given the recent changes in the CBI's ranks at present, the court asserted that the team investigating the case should not be changed.
Noting that it may not be appropriate to keep the key accused in the case, Brajesh Thakur, in a jail in Bihar because of his influential status in the state, the Supreme Court also issued a notice to Thakur, asking him to explain why he should not be transferred to a jail outside Bihar.
The bench also asked the Bihar government and CBI to file response on why Chandra Shekhar Verma, husband of former Bihar social welfare minister Manju Verma, has not been arrested yet.
The apex court's statement comes after the CBI arrested Ramanuj, Thakur's maternal uncle, on Tuesday night in the adjoining district of Samastipur and produced him before a special court of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, NDTV reported.
Special POCSO judge RP Tiwari accepted the CBI's plea and granted the agency Ramanuj's custody for three days.
The Supreme Court's decision comes at a time when Opposition leaders in Bihar have heaped criticism on the Nitish Kumar-led government for its inaction in the horrifying Muzaffarpur shelter home case. As many as 34 minor girls were raped in state-funded shelter home run by the Seva Sankalp Evam Vikash Samiti, an NGO owned by Thakur.
A statement from one of the victims said that another girl was beaten to death after a disagreement with staff members at the Muzaffarpur shelter home and buried in the shelter home premises.
These homes were to give destitute women vocational training, but the women were instead harassed and raped by shelter home officials. After the two incidents, two FIRs were filed against Thakur, who also owns three newspapers and has even contested the Bihar polls.
On 4 August, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress and Communist Party of India took to the streets of Bihar to protest the Muzaffarpur case. A procession, led by Congress MLA Amit Kumar Tunna, was taken out by the National Students Union of India to protest against the sexual abuse at the shelter home. These parties and groups also demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, reported India Today. The protesters forcibly tried to reach Kumar's home, after which the police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the agitating crowd. The report added that Governor of Bihar Lalji Tandon, had earlier sent letters to Kumar, calling the sexual abuse of minor girls at the shelter home in Muzaffarpur "heart-rending" and also suggested measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in future.
In a parallel incident, The Times of India reported, the Muzaffarpur Police, in August, had seized four boxes of condoms and medicines from the terrace of Swadhaar Grih, a shelter home from where 11 women reported missing. Officials from the Social Welfare Department, during an inspection of the home on 20 March, found that the 11 women had received various types of skill development training. However, on 9 June, the home was found locked, and the victims were missing.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Oct 25, 2018 13:35 PM