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Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes: CBI seeks NGO’s documents from Bihar social welfare dept

The agency’s team asked the department about the ways it monitored the NGO during its second visit to its office in Patna since taking over the probe.

india Updated: Aug 02, 2018 20:29 IST
Avinash Kumar
Avinash Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar news,Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes,CBI probe
Ten of the eleven accused, including Brajesh Thakur who ran the NGO operating the shelter home and seven women’s homes, have been arrested so far. (PTI File Photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday sought several documents from Bihar’s social welfare department regarding the shelter home in Muzaffarpur city, where more than 30 girls were allegedly sexually abused for months, as part of its probe in the case, officials said.

Though CBI officials did not divulge details of their visit, a senior government official said the documents included the agreement between the non-government organisation, Seva Sankalp Ewam Vikas Samiti (SSEVS), which ran the state-funded shelter home, and the department.

The agency’s team asked the department about the ways it monitored the NGO during its second visit to its office in Patna since taking over the probe.

They also sought details about the funds given to Brajesh Thakur’s NGOs for advertisements and running welfare schemes, a senior state government official, who was not willing to be quoted, said.

They are trying to corroborate if the inspection reports of the stay home ever raised concerns about what was going on there and if yes, what action was initiated.

Investigators have suggested that 34 of the 42 girls examined so far were found to have been sexually exploited. Two other girls were not subjected to medical examination because of their poor mental health.

Ten of the eleven accused, including Brajesh Thakur who ran the NGO operating the shelter home and seven women’s homes, have been arrested so far.

The central agency’s officials also discussed various aspects of the case and clout of Thakur. According to officials, Thakur and his family members ran 17 NGOs and they were involved with different government projects.

“The moot point is that on what basis these NGOs were able to sign agreements with the government departments and if its credentials were properly verified,” they added.

The CBI has found out there were 46 girls in the Muzaffarpur stay home and out of which two were handed over to their families and two others were admitted to a hospital. Besides, the stay home also had the record of 35 other girls, with no information about the rest seven and where did they come from.

The team has visited Madhubani district, where 13 girls from the Muzaffarpur shelter were shifted following its closure. It also went to shelter homes in Patna and Mokama, where the remaining girls are staying.

An official at the agency’s headquarters said a separate team will soon conduct an exhaustive forensic examination of the shelter home where the minor girls were allegedly raped by officials of the Centre.

He said the team from Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) would go to Muzzafarpur to reconstruct crime scenes and collect forensic samples.

“Our investigation will be scientific and based on documents to establish the linkages,” the CBI official added.

“The statements of the victims will be used to reconstruct the crime scene and develop a timeline which will be used to prosecute the accused,” he added.

The agency may also take help child psychologists to record the statements of the girls, some of who are as young as seven years, the official said.

The Supreme Court on Thursday took note of the alleged rapes in the shelter home and imposed a blanket ban on showing images, hidden or morphed, of the girls. The top court directed the media not to interview the girls, saying they cannot be compelled to relive the trauma again and again.

It also issued notices to the Bihar government, women and child development ministry and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), whose audit brought the case to the fore.

The state government has been asked to give the status of investigation in the case.

First Published: Aug 02, 2018 20:27 IST