PATNA: Bihar police on Friday set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the alleged sexual exploitation of inmates of a government-funded shelter home for minor girls in Muzaffarpur.
Nine people have been arrested in the case that came to light earlier this month in a social audit by a team from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) that visited the shelter home run by the NGO Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti. The arrested people include Brajesh Thakur, who runs the NGO and also owns a Hindi daily newspaper named Pratah Kamal.
“An SIT has been set up comprising women police personnel and headed by an officer of the rank of DSP. We have also involved CID in the probe,” said Muzaffarpur SSP Harpreet Kaur.
The 46 minor girls who lived at the shelter home have been shifted to Madhubani and Patna. As per directions from the state directorate of social welfare, the district child protection unit has sealed the building of the shelter home, added the SSP.
Sources said 15 minor girls at the shelter home were raped and five of them were found pregnant. The girls were allegedly shown pornographic films and injected with sedatives before being sexually assaulted. Inmates who protested were beaten up mercilessly, according to National Commission for Women (NCW) member Sushma Sahu, who visited Muzaffarpur to probe the allegations recently.
Sahu also said the sex racket and torture of the minor girls seemed to have been running through a nexus of government officials and the NGO’s office bearers.
Sources said Brajesh Thakur has been politically “well connected” and had contested the 2010 Assembly polls on a Bihar People's Party (BPP) ticket from the Kudhani constituency. Before his arrest, he said the charges against him were “baseless and an attempt to frame me”.
Others arrested in the case are the shelter home’s superintendent Indu Kumari; its staff members Minu Kumari, Manju Devi, Hema Masih, Neha Kumari, Kiran Kumari and Chanda Devi; and Muzaffarpur Child Welfare Committee member Vikas Kumar.