Nitish Kumar recommends CBI probe into Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse allegations to prevent 'rumour-mongering'

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday recommended a CBI probe into the alleged sexual exploitation of girls at a state-funded shelter home in Muzaffarpur, an official release said. Kumar's deputy Sushil Kumar Modi said the state government would request the Patna High Court to monitor the probe.

Opposition MLAs had paralysed the state Assembly for three days with their vociferous demands for a high court-monitored CBI probe into the scandal. They also demanded that the state Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma be sacked.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh had told the Parliament that the Centre would consider any request from the state government for a CBI inquiry.

Recommending the CBI inquiry this morning, Kumar directed the chief secretary, the director general of police and the principal secretary (home) to immediately hand over the case to the central investigating agency, a government release said.

The decision to hand over the case to the CBI was taken to prevent rumour-mongering in the state, it said.

 Nitish Kumar recommends CBI probe into Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse allegations to prevent rumour-mongering

File image of Bihar police. Reuters

"A deplorable incident has taken place in Muzaffarpur, where the police have been carrying out a diligent investigation. Although the government was committed to conducting an impartial probe, the decision for handing over the probe to the CBI has been taken to dispel the 'bhram ka vatavaran' (environment of rumours/falsehood) that was being created," it said.

Sushil Modi said, "During the next hearing, the state government will itself request the high court to monitor the CBI inquiry into the matter."

Medical examinations of 29 of the 42 shelter home inmates confirmed that they were sexually exploited, state Director General of Police K S Dwivedi had said. Ten out of 11 accused persons have been arrested in the case.

"Lalu (RJD chief Lalu Prasad) and company's faith in the CBI has increased which is evident from their demand for CBI probe into the Srijan scam and Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual exploitation case. I hope that Lalu Prasad's family, which used to criticise CBI, will not take a U-turn and term its action in the Railways tender scam and benami properties case as political vendetta," Sushil Modi said.

The RJD supremo is serving a sentence in a number of fodder scam cases. In the IRCTC case, the alleged scam which took place while Prasad was the Railways Minister, he and many of his family members face money laundering charges.

Earlier in the day, the Bihar Assembly was adjourned till the lunch break within 10 minutes of commencement of the proceedings on the issue as Opposition members trooped into the well and created a ruckus demanding monitoring of the case by the high court, sacking of the social welfare minister and arrest of her husband Chandeshwar Prasad Verma for visiting the home often.

The legislative council too witnessed noisy scenes in the first half when Opposition members raised anti-government slogans making similar demands.

Opposition parties in the state demanding the CBI probe had alleged that the state government was not handing over the matter to the central agency as it wanted to 'shield' some of the key accused who were said to be close to the ruling dispensation.

The alleged sexual exploitation of inmates at the shelter home had come to light in the report of a social audit conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

An FIR was subsequently registered on a complaint by the state social welfare department and 10 persons, including the patron of the NGO which ran the shelter home and the then district child protection officer, were arrested.

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Updated Date: Jul 26, 2018 22:40:05 IST