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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

I’ll quit politics if my husband is guilty: Minister on Bihar shelter home scandal

There were reports about the alleged involvement of social welfare minister Manju Verma’s husband in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse case.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2018 11:11 IST
Reena Sopam
Reena Sopam
Hindustan Times, Patna
Social welfare minister Manju Verma addressing journalists in Patna on Thursday.
Social welfare minister Manju Verma addressing journalists in Patna on Thursday.(HT Photo)

Rejecting allegations against her husband Chandeshwar Verma in connection with the Muzaffarpur short stay home scandal, social welfare minister Manju Verma on Thursday said he was innocent and being falsely implicated in the matter as he belonged to the Kushwaha community.

She said the case has already been handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and if her husband was found guilty, she would not only resign, but also withdraw from public life.

There have been reports of alleged involvement of the minister’s husband in Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse case.

Earlier, the matter had come to light when Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) carried out a social audit of government-sponsored shelter homes for boys and girls across the state.

“At the legislative assembly today, Rabri Devi asked me to resign. Why should I do so? She is directing me to resign while she herself belongs to a family, which has criminal antecedents. Her husband has served jail term and her daughter, too, has been charged of corruption,” Verma said.

Many of her party members also have criminal background, the minister said, adding, “Rajballabh Yadav is in jail. We all know he is behind bars in a rape case.”

The minister said she and her husband were being implicated in the case at the instigation of the Opposition. “We are being targeted because we belong to the Kushwaha community. In fact, we have been turned into a tool to tarnish the image of the government,” she said, adding, she was the only woman in the state cabinet and has been working with responsibility.

Admitting that her husband had once visited the shelter home at Muzaffarpur, she said, “It was his first and last visit. Saheb wahan bas ek hi baar gaye the (My husband had gone there only once). In fact, he had accompanied me there.”

“We were invited to a function held in the memory of Jagdev Babu at Muzaffarpur a couple of years ago. After the function, I had visited the short stay home with my husband,” the minister said.

“Let CBI probe the matter. If found guilty, my husband will be punished. I will get him hanged. I myself will resign and withdraw from politics,” she said.

“We did not find the condition of shelter home girls satisfactory even at that time. But they did not complain or even open their mouth before me,” Verma said.

On a query over the action, if any, taken by her after the visit, the minister said she did not remember whether any action was taken. “More than two years have elapsed since the visit. In the past few years, we have been busy distributing old age pension,” she said.

The department has over hundred shelter homes but there have been no report of any irregularity at any of them, said the minister. “Even now, we have reports of irregularities at only five shelter homes while the rest of are doing well,” she added.

Verma said she did not know Brajesh Thakur, a key accused in the case. “Those who claim that Thakur was seen with my husband at Bihar Niwas, Delhi, must know the room was booked in my name. We have nothing to do with Thakur,” she said.

Earlier, the wife of an official arrested on charges of sexually assaulting inmates of the short stay home had accused social welfare department minister’s husband of frequently visiting the institution and spending “long hours in the girls’ room”.

First Published: Jul 27, 2018 11:11 IST

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