NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to complete within three months the probe in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case.
The order came after the investigating agency approached the apex court seeking six months time to complete the probe in the matter.
A bench of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice MR Shah asked the CBI to also investigate other allegations like abuse under Section 377 of IPC, alleged video recording of the victims, besides questioning the outsiders who were allegedly involved in sexual abuse of the girls, and on the aspect of alleged human trafficking and how the girls were sent to this shelter.
The apex court also asked the CBI, which is investigating the matter, to submit the report within three months.
The CBI, which filed a report in a sealed cover on the status of the inquiry, stated that three aspects on which the investigation is still on are related to the alleged murder of some of the girls, the CFSL and AIIMS reports. The agency also said that the probe was not going slow and that it has already charged the accused with serious crimes.
The CBI said that remains of two persons were found but it has been waiting for the AIIMS report on whether the remains were that of a female or male and on the cause of death.
On the top court's query on the number of girls missing, the CBI replied that some girls were named by the witnesses, and records show that four girls died of natural causes. "The witnesses have also named girls who were allegedly murdered. There are 7-8 girls with the same name in the register. But we are tracing the missing girls and have found addresses and some of the girls are back home with their families," the reply stated.
The investigating agency further contended that 471 girls were housed in the Muzaffarpur shelter home and witnesses said 11 were murdered, out of which 4 were recorded as deaths due to natural causes.
Amicus curiae, advocate Aparna Bhat, assisting the apex court in the case, said that apart from the murder investigation going slow, there are other serious offences that are not being investigated properly.
Some of the girls have said the accused made video recordings of the sexual abuse and this is a serious charge under the IT Act but the investigation has not been conducted into this, she said.
The investigating agency had also not probed allegations under Section 377 of IPC, and on how the girls were brought into the shelter home, she told the court.
"The trial is going on very well. The fear now is that the girls are kept in shelters in various places. The CBI will have to bring the children back for questioning if the investigation keeps getting delayed," the amicus curiae added.
The case pertains to the alleged sexual abuse of 44 girls who used to reside in the state-run shelter home.
The charge sheet filed by the CBI named 21 people including main accused Brajesh Thakur who used to run the state-funded NGO in Muzaffarpur where minor girls were allegedly sexually abused over a period of time.