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Bihar shelter home case: Court frames charges against 21 accused

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) had pointed out that the residents of the shelter home were staying in grave conditions.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2019 23:36 IST
Richa Banka
Richa Banka
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bihar shelter home,Saket court,Brajesh Thakur
In this file photo, police with sniffer dog investigating at Mokama shelter home from where seven minor girls, who were witnesses in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, disappeared from home in Mokama Bihar (A P Dube/ HT Photo)

A Delhi court on Saturday framed various charges, including that of criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault, against all accused persons in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case.

In December, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a chargesheet in the alleged assault of minor girls at the shelter home in Bihar, accusing 21 persons. The agency also said the children were made to watch obscene videos by staff of the state-funded NGO and also dance on “Bhojpuri” songs.

The case was registered on a complaint filed by one Dibesh Sharma, assistant director of the District Child Protection Unit. The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) had pointed out that the residents of the shelter home were staying in grave conditions.

Additional sessions judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha framed charges against the accused, saying that there was prima facie evidence against the accused. Besides rape and criminal conspiracy, the court also framed charges under various sections of the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act and relevant sections of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Brajesh Thakur, incharge of the shelter home and the alleged mastermind, was charged with rape, criminal intimidation and other serious sections. Thakur, along with his employees, was also charged with penetrative sexual assault, neglect of duty and failure to report assault on the girls.

Thakur and the other co-accused, including Ravi Raushan, Ramanuj Thakur, Ashwani Kumar and Shahista Parween, were present during the hearing. All of them pleaded innocence and claimed trial.

Reacting to Saturday’s order, advocate Pramod Dubey, who represented Thakur, said there was no evidence against his client. “...this is a charge sheet based on false surmises. This is a motivated case against my client,” Dubey said.

On February 7, the Supreme Court ordered authorities to transfer the case from Bihar to a POCSO court in Saket District Court complex in Delhi. The matter has been now posted for further hearing on Monday.

First Published: Mar 30, 2019 16:29 IST