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Bihar shelter home scandal: Supreme Court pulls up police over delay in ex-minister’s arrest

The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the Bihar police over its failure to arrest former state minister Manju Verma, who resigned in the wake of the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse scandal, in a case related to recovery of ammunition from her house.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2018 11:03 IST
HT Correspondent
Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse scandal,Bihar shelter home scandal,Manju Verma
The Supreme Court pointed out that even after former minister Manju Verma’s (pictured) anticipatory bail was rejected, she was not arrested by the police.(PTI/File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the Bihar police over its failure to arrest former state minister Manju Verma, who resigned in the wake of the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse scandal, in a case related to recovery of ammunition from her house.

“Just because she (Verma) was a cabinet minister doesn’t make her above the law… Why has she not been arrested? Nobody is bothered about the law,” a bench led by Justice MB Lokur said.

During the previous hearing the bench asked for a status report on the probe from the police and sought to know the whereabouts of Verma’s husband, Chandrashekhar Verma. Investigators have alleged that Chandrashekhar Verma was in touch with Brijesh Thakur, prime accused in the shelter home sexual abuse case. The husband surrendered on Monday in the arms case, a day before the top court was to take up the matter.

The bench, also comprising justices SA Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, ordered the transfer of Thakur out of Bihar and sent him to a jail in Patiala. It asked for a list of all CBI officers who have investigated the case since September 20. The court will hear both the matters again on Wednesday.

The judges, however, did not spare Bihar police for its laxity in arresting Verma and her husband. It was pointed out that even after the former minister’s anticipatory bail was rejected, she was not arrested by the police. The Patna high court on October 9 dismissed Verma’s plea for pre-arrest bail.

The Bihar government submitted to the court that Verma’s husband was not to be found for two months. This approach was termed as lackadaisical by the court, which said the state of affairs in Bihar were “horrible” and “shocking.”

“This is a horrible state of affairs. All kinds of weapons are found. What about drugs?” Justice Lokur asked senior advocate RAnjit Kumar, appearing for Bihar. When the lawyer said it was indefensible, the judge shot back: “It its indefensible, what have you done? What steps have you taken to arrest her? Just because she is a cabinet minister, is she above the law?

The court was horrified to learn from CBI counsel that the girls at the home were drugged and then assaulted. “These girls are being injected with drugs. The building is constructed flouting all laws,” the judge said.

When Thakur’s counsel asked for two weeks to file a reply to court notice to transfer him out of Patna, the court said: “We are not inclined to give more time unless he goes out of Bihar.” The court gave him a week’s time but ordered his transfer.

First Published: Oct 30, 2018 23:23 IST