The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the transfer of Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case, to a high-security jail in Patiala, Punjab. The decision was made to ensure a "free and fair" investigation in the case.
On 25 October, the court had noted that it may not be appropriate to keep Thakur in a jail in Bihar because of his influential status in the state and also issued a notice to him, asking him to explain why he should not be transferred to a jail outside Bihar.
At the hearing on Tuesday, the Supreme Court expressed shock when it was informed that the girls at the shelter home in Muzaffarpur that Thakur ran were given drugs. "These girls are being injected with drugs so they can be raped. What is this going on?" the court asked.
The top court also questioned the Bihar government why former state social welfare minister Manju Verma, who resigned amid the Muzaffarpur investigation, has not been arrested under the Arms Act even after her anticipatory bail plea has been rejected. The CBI had found a cache of live ammunition at her house in Begusarai.
"Just because she happens to be a (former state) cabinet minister doesn’t make her above the law. The whole thing is highly suspicious. Why has she not been arrested? It’s too much. Nobody is bothered about the law."
On Monday, Manju's husband Chandrashekhar Verma surrendered before a district court at Manjhaul in Bihar's Begusarai in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case and remanded in judicial custody till 6 November. He is accused of having links with Thakur because, during the course of the investigation, it was found that Chandrashekhar and Thakur had spoken several times between January and June this year. Soon after, Manju had resigned as the social welfare minister in the Bihar government.
At least 30 girls were allegedly raped in the state-funded shelter home run by the Seva Sankalp Evam Vikash Samiti, an NGO Thakur owns. The shelter home was meant to give destitute women vocational training, but they were instead harassed and said to be raped by the shelter home officials.
One of the victims had also said that another girl was beaten to death after a disagreement with staff members at the Muzaffarpur shelter home and buried in the premises. After the two incidents, two FIRs were filed against Thakur, who also owns three newspapers and has even contested the Bihar polls.
At the hearing on Tuesday, the Supreme Court also ordered the CBI, which is investigating the case, to submit by Wednesday, 31 October, a list of investigating officers looking into the Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes. It said the list should include the name of officers who investigated the case from 20 September till today. On 25 October, the court had asserted that the team investigating the Muzaffarpur case should not be changed, given the recent changes in the CBI's ranks amid the infighting between CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana.
Updated Date: Oct 30, 2018 13:46 PM