Muzaffarpur Shelter: SC Slams Bihar Govt as Ex-Min Goes Missing

Bihar government told Supreme Court that it cannot trace Verma, from whose house ammunition was recovered. 

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India
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File photo of Manju Verma, former cabinet minister of Bihar government.  
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 31 October, slammed the Bihar government in the ongoing shelter home case and said, “All is not well in Bihar,” expressing displeasure at the non-arrest of former Cabinet Minister Manju Verma.

“Former minister goes into hiding and government does not know and has failed to arrest her after her bail plea rejection," the top court said, reported ANI.

The rebuke from the Supreme Court followed a reply submitted by the Bihar government claiming it cannot trace its former cabinet minister Manju Verma. Verma was asked to resign after the sexual abuse scandal at Muzaffarpur Shelter Home came to light, reported Hindustan Times.

The Bihar government told the top court that it cannot trace Verma, who has been on the Bihar police’s radar in a case related to the recovery of ammunition from her house.

The court was hearing the case on Wednesday, 31 October, surrounding allegations of rape and sexual abuse of 34 minor girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar.

The state government's reply comes a day after Supreme Court had asked the Bihar Police why Verma has not been arrested.

The former minister’s husband Chandrashekhar Verma surrendered before a Begusarai court on Monday, 29 October, in connection with the arms case.

A bench of Justices MB Lokur, SA Nazeer and Deepak Gupta also directed that Brajesh Thakur, prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse case, be shifted to the Patiala high security jail in Punjab from Bihar's Bhagalpur jail.

The alleged sexual exploitation of the girls was first highlighted in an audit report submitted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to the state's social welfare department.

The apex court also took note of the allegations referred by CBI against Brajesh Thakur and issued a notice to him to explain why he should not be transferred to a jail outside the state.

‘Prime Accused Is an Influential Person’

The CBI in its report had alleged that Thakur is an influential person, and a mobile phone was recovered from him inside the jail where he is currently lodged under judicial custody.

The top court had also asked the Bihar Police to investigate the former minister and her husband Chandrashekhar Verma in connection with the recovery of a huge quantity of ammunition from them.

Verma had to resign as the Minister of Social Welfare from the Bihar government in the wake of the Muzzafarpur shelter home sexual abuse case.

The sexual abuse of 34 of the 42 inhabitants was confirmed in their medical examination. The TISS audit report had said that many girls at the shelter home had complained of sexual abuse.

An FIR was lodged against 11 people, including prime accused Brajesh Thakur, on May 31. The probe was later taken over by the CBI.

A special investigation team was formed to probe the complaints. The NGO running the shelter home in Muzaffarpur was blacklisted and the girls were shifted to shelter homes in Patna and Madhubani.

Women staff members of the shelter home along with Thakur were arrested by the police in connection with the case.

(With inputs from PTI, Hindustan Times.)

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