Bihar shelter horror: ‘Guests’ forced girls to dance, raped them, says CBI
Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual abuse case, used to force girls to dance with scanty clothes on vulgar songs and have sex with his guest, revealed a 73-page charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The charge sheet was filed before the special POCSO court of additional district judge RP Tiwari on December 19.
“Those refusing to entertain the guests were offered only roti and salt at night, while those who danced were given good food,” noted the charge-sheet, a copy of which is with HT.
To be sure, the charge sheet is silent on the roles of officials who, despite knowing about the horrors in the shelter home, could not protect the girls.
The investigation revealed that the girls were drugged and sexually abused by Thakur’s guests. As many as 21 people, including Thakur, were named as accused in the charge sheet, and 101 others, including 33 victims, listed as witnesses.
Child rights activist and advocate KD Mishra, however, wondered why the CBI let off officials, including those from the social welfare department and its directorate. “Section 19 of the The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act clearly stipulates that any person having the knowledge of an offence shall provide information to the police. Why the officers did not report the matter even as they were aware of it since the beginning of 2018?” asked Mishra.
He also sought to know from the CBI as why it did not investigate the roles of senior officers, even as they were deemed to be penalised under section 21 of the POCSO Act. “I have filed complaints in the Sachiwalaya police station and the office of director general of police (DGP), Bihar. But neither of them was taken note of,” said Mishra, adding that he would take the issue to court.
The accused named in the charge sheet are Indu Kumari, Minu Kumari, Manju Devi, Chanda Devi, Neha Kumari, Hema Masih, Kiran Kumari, Saista Pervin alias Madhu, Dr Pramila, Kiran Kumari, Ramanuj Thakur alias Mamu, Ramashankar Singh alias Master Saheb, Ravi Kumar Roshan, Vikas Kumar, Dilip Kumar Verma, Vijay Kumar Tiwari, Guddu Kumar Patel alias Gudddu, Krishna Kumar Ram alias Krishna, Rozy Rani, and Dr Ashwini alias Asmani .
The CBI stated that Thakur was the owner of the shelter home, which was run by the non-governmental Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti. He was charged with sexually abusing the girls. Thakur used to beat the girls on their private parts if they refused to have sex with guests. “Ravi Kumar Roshan and Mamu often assisted Thakur in course of making girls to dance in front of guests and raping them,” noted the charge sheet.
Roshan, who was a child protection officer, also allegedly exploited the girls. Vikash Kumar, a member of the child welfare committee (CWC), often raped the girls after drugging them with sleeping pills. Dilip Kumar Verma, CWC chairman, who was referred by the victims as ‘ganda aadmi’ (dirty man) was accused of sexually assaulting the minors. Rozy Rani, assistant director in the child protection unit of the government, alleged kept blind to the horrors. Dr Pramila, who was roped in for health check-up of the inmates, also took no pains to report the matter and instead offered them abortion pills, according to the charge sheet.
The sexual abuse case came to light in April 2018 after a social audit report prepared by TISS on the status of all state-funded shelter homes in Bihar. The report found that the inmates were sexually exploited. Medical tests found that as many as 34 of the total 44 girls were sexually abused in the shelter home over a period of four years.
Following the report, the Muzaffarpur police lodged an FIR against 11 people. Nine of them, including seven women, were arrested and sent to judicial custody on June 2. The police filed a charge sheet in July by and transferred the case to the CBI.
Investigations have revealed that Thakur’s NGO was selected to rune the shelter home as he had political connections with the ruling party and some bureaucrats.
The Supreme Court had described Thakur as a ‘very influential man’ and recommended shifting him to Punjab jail from Bihar’s central jail. The Muzaffarpur municipal corporation has dismantled the four-storey shelter home structure as it violation of building laws.