Brajesh Thakur, 11 others given life terms in shelter home case
Brajesh Thakur, the politically connected owner of a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur where several girls were raped for years, will be in prison “till his last breath”, a special court in Delhi ordered on Tuesday while handing down life terms to 12 people over a case that triggered national outrage in 2018.
Thakur was also slapped with a fine of Rs 32 lakh, after the court said the case made him out to be the “kingpin” of a meticulously planned controversy.
“It is writ large that this is not a case of a single solitary incident of rape, but a meticulously planned and ingeniously executed conspiracy wherein the care-givers, the supervisors and the administrators in a state-sponsored children’s home themselves turned into predators, perpetrators of crime and abettors and repeatedly subjected numerous minor girls to atrocious acts of rape and aggravated penetrative sexual assault over an extremely long period of time spanning about four years,” the court said, news agency PTI reported.
The court, the report added, observed that Thakur was not a young boy charged with a solitary offence but a mature and experienced politician charged with a plethora of crimes.
The others who were sentenced to life term included local officials of institutions meant to protect children and several women who were part of the shelter home and were convicted for their role in abetting the rapes. The court also granted a compensation varying between Rs 5.50- Rs 9 lakh to the rape victims.
Thakur, convicted on January 20, once unsuccessfully contested assembly polls on a Bihar People’s Party ticket. The then Bihar social welfare minister and a former leader of the state’s ruling Janata Dal (United), Manju Verma, resigned from her post on August 8, 2018, after it emerged that her husband, Chandrashekar Verma, had links with Thakur.
The sexual abuse at the facility was exposed on May 26, 2018, after the Tata Institute of Social Sciences submitted a report to the Bihar government highlighting allegations of abuse from the girls who spoke to a team of NGO workers. The case was handed over to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and shifted out of Bihar over fears of interference. The agency had sought life imprisonment “till remainder of life” for Thakur.