PATNA: A special court conducting trial of the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuses case has ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged role of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and two senior IAS officers.
Judge Manoj Kumar of the special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court passed the order on an application filed by Dr Ashwini Kumar, one of the accused in the horrific sexual abuse of minor girls staying at the government-funded shelter home.
Dr Kumar, a self-styled local doctor who was arrested in November last for allegedly injecting the minor girls with sedatives to facilitate their rape, had accused CBI of suppressing facts to protect some high-profile people. He had demanded that a probe should be conducted into the role of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and two IAS officers – Dharmendra Singh, then Muzaffarpur district magistrate, and Atul Prasad, principal secretary of the social welfare department.
The sexual abuses of the minor girls lodged at the Balika Grih shelter home run by Brajesh Thakur came to light in a social audit report of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in April 2018, leading to Muzaffarpur police to register an FIR against 11 people in May 2018. Massive public and political outcry over the scandal prompted Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to order a CBI probe in July 2018.
Medical examinations of the minor girls had confirmed that at least 34 of them were raped several times during the months they stayed at the facility. Thakur, the main accused who was described by the Supreme Court as a “very influential man,” was shifted to a jail in Patiala from a jail in Bihar after CBI accused him of trying to influence witnesses and destroy evidence.
Bihar’s then social welfare minister Manju Verma, whose husband and former JD(U) legislator Chandreshwar Verma was accused of frequenting the shelter home and having close links with Thakur, was forced to resign in August last. The couple is currently in jail after a CBI raid at their home in connection with the scandal found illegal ammunition.
The Supreme Court had criticised the Bihar government earlier this month for providing incomplete information about the status of shelter homes in the state and transferred trial in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case to a court at Saket in Delhi. The apex court also said that trial in the case should be completed in six months.
Bihar Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav of RJD has been accusing CBI of protecting influential people in the Muzaffarpur case. He had raised the issue afresh in the Assembly’s ongoing budget session on Thursday, but his demand of a discussion on it was rejected by Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary.
“We will first have a look at the court’s order. We can comment only after perusing the court’s order,” said Sanjay Singh, spokesperson of Bihar’s ruling JD(U). Nitish Kumar is also the national president of JD(U).