PATNA: The anticipatory bail plea of former Bihar social welfare minister Manju Verma, who was forced to resign from the cabinet in the wake of the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuses case, was on Tuesday rejected by Patna High Court.
The JD(U) leader had approached the HC after her anticipatory bail application was rejected by a local court in Begusarai on August 25. Justice Sudhir Singh rejected her application in the case of recovery of 50 live cartridges at her house at Cheria Bariyarpur in Begusarai district by CBI during a raid on August 17 in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuses case.
CBI had filed an FIR against Verma and her husband, former JD(U) MLC Chandrashekhar Verma, under the Arms Act. The anticipatory bail pleas of Chandrashekhar Verma were rejected both by a Begusarai court and Patna High Court recently.
Police in Begusarai had obtained an arrest warrant against Chandrashekhar Verma from a local court and conducted several raids to arrest him on September 21, a day after the Supreme Court, while hearing a petition on the shelter home case, asked Bihar police to look into the recovery of live cartridges from the Vermas’ house “with some seriousness”.
Manju Verma’s residence in Patna wore a deserted look on Tuesday. Sources said she and her husband had not visited the premises for over a fortnight. “The couple has turned underground facing arrest. Neither Manju Verma nor her husband has also been seen at their houses in Begusarai district for over a fortnight,” said a JD(U) leader from the district.
With the HC rejecting the anticipatory bail, the former minister has little option other than surrendering to police and seek regular bail. Bihar’s main Opposition RJD has been accusing the Nitish Kumar-led government of shielding her and her husband mainly because they belong to the OBC Kushwaha caste, a group both the ruling JD(U) and BJP are trying to keep in good humour for electoral gains.
Manju Verma was forced to resign from the state cabinet on August 8 after her husband was accused of frequenting the Muzaffarpur shelter home, where 34 minor girls were subjected to sexual abuses, and having close links with the main accused in the case, Brajesh Thakur, who is currently in jail.
The 50 cartridges of different bores recovered from the Vermas’ house were later found to be illegal. Nineteen of them belonged to prohibited guns such as self-loading rifles (SLR). Civilians are not allowed to own SLRs. A probe had found that the cartridges in possession of the 16 bodyguards and house guards deployed with the couple were intact.